Deputy Mayor of Lloydminster, Councillor Jonathan Torresan is expressing the City’s sorrow over the saga of Residential Schools and the recent findings of children’s bodies. He also commented on calls from First Nations communities for Canada Day to not be observed.
“The entire community I think is mourning with First Nations people. I can understand the frustration that’s coming from First Nations and other groups that are asking for Canada Day to not to be observed. I am of the opinion that it’s important that we actually take time today to recognize all of these things, [and] stand with our Indigenous brothers and sisters and make sure that we understand or we try our best to put ourselves in their shoes and how difficult a time they would be having.”
His comments came on Monday on the 25th anniversary of National Indigenous Peoples Day in Canada. As the country marks the observance, it has been a sombre time with the discovery of the remains of 215 bodies of children at a former Residential School in Kamloops, B.C.
The City of Victoria, B.C. have cancelled their Canada Day broadcast in the wake of the Kamloops 215 discovery. First Nations communities continue to mourn children who did not make it home from Residential Schools and to grieve the discovery of the children’s bodies at the site of the former Residential School.
The Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations (FSIN) have welcomed the decision from Victoria and acknowledged that they support groups like the Lac La Ronge Indian Band who have opted not to observe Canada Day and instead will focus education around Indigenous Peoples Day.
The town of La Ronge will not be having its usual parade and fireworks, but will take the time to listen to First Nations groups who are hurting.
With respect to how far the City of Lloydminster has come in implementing the 94 calls to action laid out by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission in 2015, Torresan says that Reconciliation has no end point.
“Reconciliation is a process. There is no end point. There are items that we started to do to recognize the traditional territories upon which we are standing and we recognize the First Nations and Métis homes that we are residing on.”
Torresan admits it’s a complex situation as far as all the calls to action of the Truth and reconciliation Commission.
At least three communities in Northern Saskatchewan have either scaled back or cancelled Canada Day activities. Red Deer and St. Albert have also scaled back activities out of respect for the survivors of Residential Schools.