Today we observe Canada’s inaugural National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, a day of learning and reflection on the importance of reconciliation with Indigenous peoples. Also celebrated as Orange Shirt Day, September 30th is a day to recognize and commemorate the legacy of residential schools and to honour the survivors, their families and communities.
The past year was especially heavy for our nation, as we collectively mourned the loss of the thousands of children whose remains were located at former residential school sites across Canada. Today, as we put on our orange t-shirts and acknowledge the hard truths of our colonial past, we also reflect on CDI’s journey of reconciliation as a child and youth mental health agency.
CDI is currently undergoing a facilities review to help ensure that our offices and program spaces are easy to access, comfortable, and provide a welcoming, safe environment for children, youth and families.
We have also launched a new smudging policy and pre-designating smudging spaces at CDI sites across the GTA. Smudging is a ceremony performed by some First Nations and Métis people and involves brushing smoke created by the burning of sacred medicine plants over the body as a spiritual cleansing practice. Our hope is to better support Indigenous clients and their families by removing organizational barriers that may prevent access to this important cultural practice.
Making our spaces more inclusive and providing our staff with the tools and resources to better serve our diverse clients is an important step for CDI to take in the reconciliation process, and will set the groundwork for future initiatives and commitments.
We encourage you to take some time today to reflect and learn about the history of residential schools by reading the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s reports and Calls to Action.
Links: TRC reports: https://nctr.ca/records/reports/#trc-reports.
TRC’s Calls to Action: https://ehprnh2mwo3.exactdn.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/Calls_to_Acti….