This morning, City Hall held a flag raising ceremony to kick off a week of reflection, in honour of Truth and Reconciliation Day which takes places on Friday, September 30.
Michele-Elise Burnett, who is the president of Kakekalanicks, an Indigenous arts and consultancy company, was present at the ceremony to give a speech.
She explained the history of Canada’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission which was created after the horrific truth of Canada’s residential schools came to light. In 2015, the commission put forward a list of 94 calls to action that Canada should take to forge a path ahead.
"Right now total we have taken action on 11 of the 94," Burnett told the crowd. "I think there should be more.”
Burnett sits on the city’s Truth and Reconciliation Committee which was founded a year ago by community group One Thorold.
“I’m really proud to be part of the City of Thorold’s family because we are building together,” she said. “Not every city, not every township in this country is doing that. What we need to do is set the bar. We need to show the example.”
Burnett asked everyone present at the ceremony to take action in their everyday lives.
“A huge part of reconciliation is understanding how small, genuine gestures contribute to the great reconciliation between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples,” she said. “I ask people to take the time to pause and learn something about Canada’s history. Today and every day we should honour, send our love, and hold space for the children who never to made it home, to the survivors, and to their families.”
City Hall staff will spend Truth and Reconciliation Day watching educational videos and holding discussions. City Hall will light up orange every night this week.