The federal government says it is working with Indigenous peoples to determine a date for a national statutory holiday to mark the tragic legacy of the residential school system.
June 21, which is National Indigenous Peoples Day, is one of the dates being considered and recommended in a private member’s bill introduced by NDP MP Georgina Jolibois.
The other is Sep. 30, which is named “Orange Shirt Day” and recognizes the bright orange shirt Phyllis Webstad’s grandmother gave to her in 1973 but was taken away when she attended a residential school in Williams Lake.
The federal heritage ministry office says it is fulfilling a recommendation made by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.
“Call to Action 80 asks the government of Canada to establish a National Day for Truth and Reconciliation to honour the survivors of residential schools,” ministry press secretary Simon Ross said in a statement to CBC.
“That’s exactly what we will do, and we will do that in partnership with Indigenous Peoples.”
National Chief of the Assembly of First Nations Perry Bellegarde told the National Post, “the overall picture is that it is important to have that day set aside so Canadians continually get it and will never ever forget the impact of genocide in the residential schools on Indigenous Peoples”.
It is not known when the holiday will be implemented and constitutionally provinces and territories make the decision on what stat holiday exist in their jurisdictions.
There are currently 9 federal statutory holidays for employees in federally regulated workplaces: New Year’s Day, Good Friday, Victoria Day, Canada Day, Labour Day, Thanksgiving Day, Remembrance Day, Christmas Day and Boxing Day.
With files from CBC.