Recognition of National Day for Truth and Reconciliation

(l-r) Honourable Antoinette Perry, Lieutenant-Governor of PEI – Chief Darlene Bernard, Lennox Island First Nation - Chief Junior Gould, Abegweit First Nation – Elder Marlene Thomas - Honourable Dennis King, Premier – Keptin James (Jimmy) Bernard

Today, September 30, 2023 is the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation.  

Also known as Orange Shirt Day, the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation is an important day for Islanders and all Canadians to reflect on the painful impacts of residential schools and the continuing effects on Indigenous peoples and communities.  

In 2021, an amendment to the Employment Standards Act officially recognized September 30 as a provincial statutory holiday for all Islanders in response to the 80th Truth and Reconciliation Call to Action. 

To mark the day, Premier Dennis King invited the Chiefs of the Mi’kmaq First Nations, as well as members of the Indigenous community and the public, to the Provincial Administration Building this morning for a short reflection followed by lowering the flags to honour the lives of Indigenous peoples impacted by the residential school system. Later this evening, the Provincial Administrative Building will be lit in orange to recognize the day. 


“On this solemn day, we honour and remember the thousands of First Nations, Inuit, and Métis children who suffered and died at Indian Residential Schools, Indian Day Schools and other related institutions. We also uplift and support the Survivors, families and communities who live with the intergenerational trauma linked to these experiences and who are still searching for truth, justice and healing. At home in Epekwitk and across Turtle Island, lets come together to confront and address the historical and ongoing injustices threatening the dignity, well-being and survival of the original inhabitants of this land. Let’s also take real steps to build a more equitable and inclusive future for generations to come.” 

-    Senator Brian Francis

“As we observe the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, we stand together as Mi'kmaq Chiefs to honour the resilience and strength of Indigenous peoples across Canada. This day is a solemn reminder of the painful legacy of the residential school system and the ongoing impacts of colonization on our communities. It is a day to reflect on the truths that have been shared and to renew our commitment to reconciliation, healing, and justice. Let us all come together to ensure that the stories of survivors are heard and that meaningful action is taken to address injustices and build a better future for all Canadians.”

-    Chief Darlene Bernard, Lennox Island First Nation

“National Day for Truth and Reconciliation is a day of remembrance and reflection, a day to honour the Indigenous children who were taken from their families and communities and the survivors who carry the scars of the residential school system. As Mi'kmaq Chiefs, we call on all Canadians to join us in acknowledging this painful history and commit to the path of reconciliation. It is only through understanding, empathy, and meaningful actions that we can heal the wounds of the past and move forward together in a spirit of partnership and respect. This day serves as a reminder of the work that still needs to be done to ensure justice, healing, and reconciliation for all Indigenous peoples in Canada.”

-    Chief Junior Gould, Abegweit First Nation.

“It is through learning about the history of residential schools, listening to the stories of survivors, and acknowledging ongoing impacts of the discrimination that took place, that we can reflect the role each of us has in advancing meaningful reconciliation. Reconciliation, at is core, is about listening to the concerns of Indigenous peoples and taking meaningful action. This week our government launched the creation of Geographic Naming Advisory Program so that work can begin to ensure that our communities have names that honour and respect all of us; the first community to be put forward to this committee will be Savage Harbour as requested by Chief Gould. Together, we will continue to work with our Mi’kmaq friends to continue to move forward and take meaningful action towards reconciliation.” 

-    Honourable Dennis King, Premier of Prince Edward Island

See photos from the 2023 Remembrance Ceremony on our Flickr album

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