Grade 12 Chilliwack secondary student Leandra Ndayifukamiye speaks during a stop on the Reconciliation Walk at Central Community Park in 2019. (Jenna Hauck/ Progress file)

LETTER: Taking the day off for Truth and Reconciliation Day makes a mockery of the tragedy

'There are so many productive ways for federal institutions and students to honour the spirit of Truth and Reconciliation'

Re: “Reconciliation is just a word if there is no action,” Chilliwack Progress, Sept. 17, 2021.

(Editor’s note: Sept. 30, the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation is a new federal statutory holiday to be taken off by federal employees and schools in B.C.)

READ MORE: B.C. public schools, government offices to close for Day of Truth and Reconciliation

How ironic, the very institutions who created the problem give themselves a day off courtesy of the taxpayer.

Seems to me like a mockery of the tragedy.

Creating a class based (public versus private) holiday is simply wrong. Creating it for the institutions most related to the crimes, is especially disgusting.

Maybe the federal employees should “take action” by all working the day and donating pay to a reconciliation fund or appropriate memorial or clean water on reserves.

As for the province, sending kids home from school on Sept. 30 so that hardworking, parents (both Indigenous and non-Indigenous) have to scramble to find daycare because they don’t happen to work for government doesn’t seem like a great way to build empathy, trust, and reconciliation.

It is “non-action” at its finest.

Perhaps the B.C. government should “take action” and expect schools to spend the day focusing on the horrors of what happened. Instead, teachers and staff are taking the day off, and students will be hanging around the malls or playing video games.

On this day, “taking action” could have been teachers having the kids study The Final Report of the TRC or read from the many testimonial books of survivors. Maybe students could have watch “When we Were Children.” Perhaps elders and spokespeople like Sonny McHalsie could have spoken to assemblies of young people, educating hundreds.

There are so many productive ways for federal institutions and students, young and old, to honour the spirit of “Truth and Reconciliation.”

If education is going to help create understanding, and perhaps stop history from repeating itself, why would politicians throw away this opportunity by sending everyone home?

Tamiko Charlton

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