Rick Wilson, Minister of Indigenous Relations of the Alberta Government, issued the following statement declaring Sept. 30 a Day for Truth and Reconciliation in Alberta:
“The Day for Truth and Reconciliation honours First Nations, Inuit and Métis survivors of residential schools, their families and communities. It is a day for everyone to reflect on the steps each of us can take to move toward reconciliation and healing.
“On behalf of Alberta’s government, our hearts go out to all those who have been impacted by the discovery of unmarked gravesites across the country. We are committed to taking real, meaningful action to help Indigenous communities identify these sites and properly commemorate them.
“Flags at provincial buildings are flying at half-mast to remember those children who never returned home.
“Today, Alberta’s government commemorated the day with the planting of a tree on the legislature grounds. This tree represents growth and continuity, renewal and life. It is strong and resilient like residential schools survivors, their families and communities. A reconciliation garden will be planted at the same site next year.
“Alberta’s government takes reconciliation seriously, making progress on 21 of the 29 calls to action of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission that fall under provincial responsibility.
We cannot change history, but together, we can forge the path toward a brighter future while forever remembering those children whose lives were lost and support those struggling with intergenerational trauma.
“Please take time to listen, learn and show compassion toward the Indigenous people who continue to live with the effects of residential schools. I encourage Albertans to support Indigenous-led Orange Shirt campaigns. Visit alberta.ca/orange-shirt-day to find an event that speaks to you.”