Statement from Premier Kelvin Goertzen and Indigenous Reconciliation and Northern Relations Minister Alan Lagimodiere

September 30, 2021

Today, we recognize National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, and encourage all Manitobans to join the provincial government to learn and engage in meaningful discussions about residential schools and its tragic enduring legacy in our country.

In June, the House of Commons passed Bill C-5, establishing a new federal statutory holiday, National Day for Truth and Reconciliation to be observed on Sept. 30 annually starting this year. The Manitoba government has also recognized this day as a day of observance to encourage reflection and meaningful discussions about the impacts of residential schools.

Observing today is vital to memorializing residential school experiences, witnessing and honouring the healing journeys of survivors and their families, and committing to the ongoing process of reconciliation.

National Day for Truth and Reconciliation is just one-step in the process to heal the relationship with Indigenous peoples by having meaningful discussions about the trauma Indigenous peoples and their families have faced and to build a bridge to a new, healthier, more positive and productive relationship.

We all have a role to play in the reconciliation and healing process for Indigenous peoples who have suffered the physical and emotional trauma of the residential school system and with recent tragic discoveries on the grounds of residential schools across Canada makes this day even more significant.

In 2017, Manitoba passed legislation to recognize formally Sept. 30 as Orange Shirt Day to encourage meaningful discussions about the trauma of residential schools.

Flags on all provincial government buildings will be lowered today to half-mast to align with long-standing protocol for all National Days of Observance. Schools and non-essential government services and offices will also be closed for the day to observe the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation. At sunset, the Legislative Building will be lit up with an orange Every Child Matters graphic to honour the children that never returned home from residential schools. The graphic was designed by Natalie Thiessen in partnership with Manitoba Keewatinowi Okimakanak Inc.  

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