After the first National Day of Truth and Reconciliation, the fight for accountability begins

After the first National Day of Truth and Reconciliation, the fight for accountability begins
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A sea of orange surrounded Victoria’s Centennial Square today Thursday in support of Canada’s first National Day of Truth and Reconciliation.

It was a sombre day, honouring the survivors of residential schools and remembering those who didn’t.

“Whatever happened to me is not going to happen to my children,” said Jerry Thomas, a residential school survivor.

“Jerry wanted to acknowledge his brothers that did not survive. Richard Thomas, Emerson Thomas, Randy Thomas, Darren Thomas, Glen Thomas, Audrey Thomas, Rosetta Thomas, Melinda Thomas, and Donna Jones,” said Jerry’s wife Jennie.

It was a day of reflection across the country, on the legacies of the residential school system, colonial policies, and cultural genocide of Indigenous peoples in Canada, but also a battle cry.

“We have a responsibility and we’ve gotta take it seriously,” said Wakerakatste Louise Macdonald Herne, Bear Clan Mother for the Mohawk Nation, who was speaking from Ottawa. “So as we bring ceremony and peace to this day. The battle has just begun.”

In the days ahead, for many, true justice for the atrocities committed doesn’t come in the form of recognition, but accountability.

“Why are these graves being discovered now? Where was the coverup, who is accountable for this, and can we have some justice? It would be really cool if on this day next year, they are handing out subpoenas to people,” said Nakuset, executive director of the Native Women’s Shelter of Montreal.

“There’s got to be some kind of justice in this. Whether they go to jail, someone’s gotta answer for it,” said Elmer St. Pierre, who is the National Chief of the Congress of Aboriginal People.

As for our Prime Minister? Despite invitations to head to Kamloops, he was in Tofino on vacation.

“Yes, the PM is spending time in Tofino with family for a few days…He is speaking today with residential school survivors from across the country,” said the Prime Minister’s spokesperson, Alex Wellstead in a statement to CBC News.

“He shouldn’t be on vacation, he should be in Ottawa, forming government,” said St. Pierre.

Kori SidawayKori Sidaway

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