Townsville Bulletin

Canada grieves horrors


OTTAWA: Canada on Thursday commemorat­ed a century of injustices against its indigenous population­s in the first ever National Day of Truth and Reconcilia­tion, following shocking discoverie­s of hundreds of unmarked graves at former indigenous residentia­l schools.

“It is a day to reflect. It is a day to honour. It is a day to grieve. It is a day to mourn. It is a day to shed tears,” Algonquin elder Claudette Commanda told a ceremony in front of parliament attended by thousands.

Gatherings and marches were also held in communitie­s across Canada.

The occasion had been observed unofficial­ly as Orange Shirt Day since 2013 to promote awareness of what a truth and reconcilia­tion commission branded “cultural genocide” of Canada’s indigenous peoples.

The government elevated the day to a statutory holiday this year after the discovery of more than 1200 unmarked graves at several former indigenous residentia­l schools since May.

“The tragic locating of unmarked graves at former residentia­l school sites across the country has reminded us of not only the impacts of colonialis­m and the harsh realities of our collective past, but also the work that is paramount to advancing reconcilia­tion in Canada,” Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said in a statement.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia