In response to one of the calls to action from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada, September 30th has been declared National Day for Truth and Reconciliation.
Children’s Aid Foundation of Canada deeply values the importance of this day and what it means, particularly to the Indigenous children, youth, and families we serve.
We recognize the need for our organization to become more actively engaged and educated about how Canada’s devastating history of racism and enduring systemic practices continue to negatively and severely traumatize and marginalize Indigenous populations to this day.
The intergenerational trauma of Residential Schools, the Sixties Scoop and racist over-surveillance and biased child protection practices are a major contributor to the overrepresentation of Indigenous young people and families involved in the child welfare system. It is our responsibility as Canadian citizens to do the critical work to address issues faced by Indigenous populations and make necessary changes to dismantle systemic racism.
This year we continue to receive the devastating news about recovered unmarked graves at numerous Residential School sites across Canada. The tragedy of these deaths and the subsequent trauma for Survivors needs and deserves to be remembered, honoured, discussed, and educated about, and taken action upon, following the lead of Indigenous communities and leaders.
Our staff and board will not be observing this day as a holiday. Instead, we will take the opportunity for deeper reflection. Our staff and board members will each be devoting time to personal research and learning from Indigenous resources and campaigns, and then will come together as a group for discussion about the further action we need to take regarding the TRC recommendations, particularly as they relate to child welfare.
Canada as a whole, the child welfare system, and our own Foundation have a lot of work to do on the road to reconciliation. Our active participation in learning and planning is not only important on this day, but every day of the year.
We want to thank you for standing up for those involved in the child welfare system, for your support as we work to better serve Indigenous populations and better educate ourselves on the issues and barriers they face. We particularly want to thank our Indigenous youth and community advisors and partners.
Valerie McMurtry, CFRE
President & CEO