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National Day for Truth and Reconciliation

30 Sep2023

Statement from President Chris Wasilenchuk and Board of The Construction Maintenance and Allied Workers Canada (CMAW)

Saturday, September 30th is the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation.

It is a day to remember that at least 150,000 Indigenous children from across the country who were forcibly separated from their families and their communities. It is a day to honour the First Nations, Métis and Inuit survivors of residential schools, as well as their families, communities, and especially those who, sadly, did not make it home. The National Day for Truth and Reconciliation builds on Orange Shirt Day, which was inspired by the story of Phyllis Webstad and chosen by Indigenous peoples to remember the legacy of residential schools and promote the path of reconciliation.

On September 30th, I would encourage people to use this as a time to reflect, in your own way, about what took place in residential schools,” says CMAW President, Chris Wasilenchuk, “Too many experienced abuse and were removed from their cultures, languages, and traditions. Too many never returned home. Too many continue to suffer from the intergenerational trauma it caused.”

On behalf of the CMAW Executive Board I want to let our Members, who were affected, know that CMAW understands you have a lot to deal with and we are committed to supporting you on your journey to recovery. If you are struggling, please talk to someone. That could be a friend or loved one, or a counsellor through the CMAW Assistance Program.”

No matter how you choose to recognize the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, it is important to remember that reconciliation is a journey. Let’s take this opportunity to renew our commitment to learning, educating ourselves and advancing reconciliation at work and in our communities throughout the year.

There are also many ways to acknowledge the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation more privately. You could find a good book to read or video to watch. You can attend events in your area. You can wear an orange shirt to show your support. It is an opportunity for us all to learn more, and to affirm the need for reconciliation and commit ourselves to the work ahead.

We must all learn about the history and legacy of residential schools. It’s only by facing hard truths, and righting these wrongs, that we can move forward together toward a just and honest future.

Some resources to learn more:

Assembly of First Nations      Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami         Metis National Council      Orange Shirt Day

National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation             Find Your Local Friendship Centre

#NDTR and #EveryChildMatters

Chris Wasilenchuk, CMAW President