News release

Premier’s Statement on Truth and Reconciliation Week

NOTE: The following is a statement from Premier Tim Houston

Kwe. Teluisi (hello, my name is) Premier Tim Houston.

Throughout the past year, with the devastating news of children’s bodies being uncovered at former residential school sites throughout the country, Canada’s history with Indigenous people has also come to light – to many for the first time.

For there to be reconciliation, we must learn and speak the truth. The trauma brought on by residential schools, past policies and racism still affect Indigenous people and communities.

This year, Sept. 27 to Oct. 1 is designated as Truth and Reconciliation Week in Canada.

The week is an opportunity to reflect on the dark and difficult parts of our shared history with Indigenous people.

The province, through its treaty education partners, is funding and supporting week-long online programming for teachers and students across the country, lead by the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation.

Thursday, Sept. 30, is Orange Shirt Day in recognition of a movement that originated with Phyllis Webstad, a residential school survivor. On her first day at St. Joseph’s Residential School in Williams Lake, B.C., her new orange shirt was stripped from her and never seen again. The message behind the orange shirt is that every child matters.

Sept. 30 is also the first National Truth and Reconciliation Day. Creating the statutory holiday was one of the calls to action the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada made nearly six years ago. Whether it be through quiet reflection, participating in events, or sharing conversation, I encourage you to recognize the legacy of residential schools.

And finally, on Friday, Oct. 1, we mark the 35th Treaty Day in Nova Scotia, which also kicks off Mi’kmaq History Month in the province.

While the pandemic continues to make it difficult to gather in person, I encourage each of you to make the time to reflect on what it means to be a treaty person, as the culture, language and history of L’nu is shared and celebrated in communities throughout the province.

Wela’lioq (thank you).

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