“Residential schools are a shameful part of our history – that is the truth the Survivors’ Flag is going to remind us of, every day, here on Parliament Hill. By raising this flag here (this August 29th, 2022), we’re saying: we will always remember. We will continue to listen to Survivors. We acknowledge the intergenerational trauma these so-called schools have caused. And we commit to continue working together as partners toward a future of healing and partnership.” – Justin Trudeau, Prime Minister of Canada
A News Release from the Office of Canada’s Prime Minister
Posted August 29th, 2022 on Niagara At Large
Residential schools are a shameful part of our history that continue to have a deep and lasting impact on Survivors, their families, and their communities across the country.
We cannot forget this truth. As Canadians, we must all learn about the history and legacy of residential schools. Only when we face the hard truths of our past, can we truly move forward together toward a better future.
The Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, was joined today (this August 29th) by the Executive Director of the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation (NCTR), Stephanie Scott, the Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations, Marc Miller, and Survivors from across the country to raise the Survivors’ Flag on Parliament Hill.
This flag will fly in memory of the 150,000 Indigenous children who were forcibly separated from their families and communities to be sent to residential schools. It will honour the Survivors, their families, the communities whose lives were forever changed, and those who never came home.
The residential school system in Canada robbed Indigenous children of their childhoods. It attempted to assimilate them, forcing them to abandon their languages, cultures, spiritualities, traditions, and identities. Many suffered physical, emotional, and sexual abuse, and many never returned home. The painful legacy of the residential school system lives on today for Indigenous Peoples from coast to coast to coast.
The orange and white Survivors’ Flag was designed by the NCTR in consultation with Survivors from across Canada as an expression of remembrance and to be shared with all Canadians. It features nine distinct elements, each with a special meaning. For example, the seeds depicted underneath the family and children represent the spirits of the children who never returned home.
We still have work to do. Reconciliation is not the responsibility of Indigenous Peoples – it is the responsibility of all Canadians. It is our responsibility to continue to listen, and to learn. The Government of Canada will continue to do just that and support First Nations, Inuit, and Métis in their healing journey. Together, we will build a better future for everyone.
If you need someone to talk to, a National Residential School Crisis Line offers emotional support and crisis referral services for residential school Survivors and their families. Call the toll-free Crisis Line at 1-866-925-4419.
This service is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The Hope for Wellness Help Line also offers support to all Indigenous Peoples. Counsellors are available by phone or online chat. This service is available in English and French, and, upon request, in Cree, Ojibway, and Inuktitut. Call the toll-free Help Line at 1-855-242-3310 or connect to the online chat at www.hopeforwellness.ca.
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