Message from the Lord Mayor and CAO of Niagara-on-the-Lake – National Day for Truth and Reconciliation

Classic 1220AM CFAJ Radio

September 29, 2023

September 30 is recognized as the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, a day when we take a moment to pause and reflect on Canada’s historical connection to the residential school system, deepen our awareness and understanding of its continued effects on Indigenous Peoples, and extend with support to impacted families and communities. It is a day to honour survivors of residential schools, their families and communities and ensure that public commemoration of the history and legacy of residential schools remains a vital component of the reconciliation process.

Truth and Reconciliation are not just words; they are actions, values, and principles that guide us toward a better society. Truth and Reconciliation Day encourages us to listen, learn, and empathize with Indigenous communities’ experiences, recognize their rich cultures, and honour their resilience. We must acknowledge residential schools’ tragic and painful past and ongoing impacts. We must work towards rebuilding our relationship with Indigenous communities and creating a more just and equitable society for all. Public commemoration of residential schools’ tragic and painful past and ongoing impacts is vital in the reconciliation process.

The Town of Niagara-on-the-Lake is committed to ensuring that residential schools’ tragic history and legacy are never forgotten. We recognize the importance of learning about Indigenous peoples’ past and the present context in Canada and are committed to creating space for Indigenous conversations. Our priority is to advance Reconciliation and renew the relationship with Indigenous peoples based on recognition of rights, respect, cooperation, and partnership. To exemplify the Town’s dedication to Truth and Reconciliation and in response to the TRC’s Calls to Action, “Advancing Truth and Reconciliation Calls to Action” is included within the Optimizing Operational Excellence pillar of the Town’s 2022-2027 Strategic Plan.

We encourage everyone to dedicate time to learning about the Indigenous history in Niagara-on-the-Lake and beyond and to explore the rich and diverse cultures, voices, experiences and stories of the First Nations, Metis, and Inuit peoples.

We understand that learning is a lifelong process and pledge. Therefore, we are committed to working towards a diverse and inclusive sharing of cultures that can help Canadians connect significantly to one another. In the spirit of Reconciliation, let us commit ourselves to the path of healing and understanding. Let us engage in meaningful dialogue, support initiatives that promote equality, and foster an inclusive environment where all voices are heard and valued.

Gary Zalepa, Lord Mayor

Marnie Cluckie, Chief Administrative Officer