December 15, 2022
This year marks the seventh anniversary of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s final report, with its 94 Calls to Action.
The number seven resonates in Indigenous communities. The Seven Grandfather teachings, for example, are a set of Anishinaabe guiding principles passed down from generation to generation. These are echoed in many Indigenous teachings, including Inuit Qaujimajatuqangit. One of those teachings—wisdom—was the theme of the event where I became an honorary witness. As an honorary witness, I have the sacred task of sharing what I hear, learning about Canada’s residential schools and carrying that knowledge into the future.
The TRC report confirmed what Indigenous peoples had been telling Canadians for decades about residential schools. It was now well documented. And it was the Calls to Action that provided a reconciliation roadmap with opportunities to renew relationships based on respect and recognition—for Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples alike.
This past year has been a momentous and emotional one for reconciliation. His Holiness Pope Francis visited Canada to deliver a long-awaited apology on Indigenous lands. We marked the second National Day for Truth and Reconciliation. And in October, the House of Commons unanimously passed a motion to recognize that what happened at residential schools was genocide.
In our schools, more and more students, and teachers, are learning about Indigenous peoples, their history and their culture. And in our communities, emphasis is being placed on supporting, preserving and teaching Indigenous languages. We are also celebrating and embracing the contributions Indigenous peoples have made to our country’s economy, our sovereignty, our environment and our societies.
Across the country, people are opening their minds and their hearts. I saw this during my visits to Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc, in Kamloops, B.C., and to Regina for Miyo‑wîcîwitowin Day, where I saw more than 10 000 young people gather to support truth and reconciliation.
Reconciliation is in every action I take, every word I speak, every decision I make, as it has been throughout my career and my life.
Let wisdom guide us in the years to come as we walk the path of healing together, each at our own pace.
In honour of those courageous survivors who shared the truth of our history, I invite every Canadian to read the Calls to Action and to integrate reconciliation into their daily lives. We must acknowledge and accept the truth—hard as it may be—and lead with understanding and respect.
Rideau Hall Press Office