National Day for Truth and Reconciliation Broadcast (LeBreton Flats)

September 30, 2022

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Hello, bonjour, Unnusakut,

I would like to acknowledge that we are gathered on the unceded territory of the Algonquin Anishinabe people.

Thank you for joining us on this National Day for Truth and Reconciliation. Thank you for walking the path of reconciliation, of healing, of remembrance.

Today is about Indigenous peoples. It’s about our true history.  It’s about the survivors. It’s about the children who never came home.

We cannot deny the truth of Canada’s history. We cannot accept the way our country has treated Indigenous peoples. We cannot forget the children, victims of residential schools. 

Everyone here, everyone watching across Canada, take a look at the shoes on this stage.

…Look at the Bentwood Box, a sacred item holding symbols of deep personal resonance for survivors.

…Look at the names on the Memorial Cloth, children across Canada who never got to see their homes again.

This is what happens when policies mix with prejudice.

Growing up in Nunavik, I witnessed most of my friends leaving for residential school. Because my mother was Inuk and my father was a white man, I was left at home. And so I saw the impact on my community.  I felt the void left by the children.

It was devastating.

It still is. Too many Indigenous communities suffer inter-generational trauma.

To them, I say:

I see your pain.

I believe in your stories.

And I believe in reconciliation as part of the healing journey.

When unmarked graves of children were found at residential schools, Canadians opened their minds and hearts to the lived realities of Indigenous peoples. For many Canadians, it was the first time they were confronted by our true history.

And since then, I’ve seen reconciliation in action, across the country.

I see it in all of you here with us today.

I see hope in all of you.

Ajuinnata—never give up, commit yourself to action.

Indigenous peoples still face many barriers. Yet, they constantly work to improve their communities, to create opportunities, to strengthen body, mind and spirit. There is great joy in Indigenous languages, culture and traditions.

Canadians can learn so much by leading with understanding and respect, by reaching out and learning from each other—Indigenous and non-Indigenous alike.

We are all responsible – each and every one of us.

I encourage all of us to talk about reconciliation from coast to coast to coast. Raise it with family and friends.

Have the hard discussions. This is difficult work, but necessary and rewarding.

Together, let’s build a country where we can be who we are, without judgment, without discrimination.

On this National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, let’s raise our voice and take action, today and every day. That is my hope for tomorrow.

Thank you. Merci. Miigwetch. Nakurmiik.