HP declares Truth and Reconciliation Day

Richard Froese
South Peace News

The Town of High Prairie will again close its office Sept. 30 for the second National Day of Truth and Reconciliation.
At its regular meeting Aug. 9, council approved a motion by Councillor James Waikle that council recognize National Day of Truth and Reconciliation on Sept. 30 annually and amend the personnel policy to include the day as a statutory holiday.
Further council passed a motion from Waikle that the town lower flags at municipal sites to half mast and advertise events on the town website.
Last year, the town closed its office for the day and lowered the flags.
“We did this last year and recognized it as a holiday,” Mayor Brian Panasiuk says.
The national day was introduced in 2021 by the federal government to remember those students who died in the hands of Indian residential schools and the survivors of residential schools that operated in Canada from 1831 to 1998.
“Being a federal statutory holiday does not mean municipalities or employers within Alberta need to provide the day off or pay a premium to employees who work on that day,” interim CAO Hermann Minderlein says in a report to council.
“As many of our residents and some employees are Indigenous and we have many neighbouring Indigenous communities within our region, some form of recognition is appropriate.”
Waikle agrees as he made the motion.
“Giving them this day as a statutory holiday is the right thing to do,” Waikle says.
Councillor John Dunn first suggested the town also promote the special day on its website by adding links to events planned for the day.
“We should promote and support events,” Dunn says.
Councillor Sacha Martens asked if any events were scheduled yet.
Dunn says he was not aware of any events planned.
Minderlein says municipalities are discussing and deciding whether to operate or not, and what could be done to recognize the special day.
In one municipal survey with 32 respondents, 17 indicated they were closing operations, four are not making a change to operations, and 10 are still deciding, Minderlein says.
In another survey, with 27 respondents, four indicated they were closing operations, six will remain open and 17 were undecided.
Another survey asked what municipalities were doing to recognize the day.
Results showed that six municipalities were lowering their flags, three were hosting public events in partnerships with Indigenous communities, three were acknowledging the territory and land they were located and three were supporting local Indigenous art and culture.

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10 thoughts on “HP declares Truth and Reconciliation Day

  1. And Bains, without indigenous land and resources taken though the violence of colonization, Canada would not be a country, you would not be here and may have not even been born.

  2. So having cars and trucks and sleds is a good thing, but they are bringing climate change. Colonization may or may not be a net benefit when all things like environment destruction, disease cures, longer life spans, more people, barbecues and airplanes, and so much more are brought into the argument. At the end of the day, if North America was never colonized, would that make it vulnerable to other countries wanting to invade and take over? Or are we assuming all those bad things brought by the colonizers like tanks, tractors, guns and warships simply be invented by the Indigenous so they could defend themselves? Maybe death rays to fight off the Italian and Egyptian hordes? Or maybe those bad actors would simply stay at home, while we tend our bison and wild rice, happily and romantically living the life. Interesting debate. Especially if everybody gets to cherry pick their pros and ignore the cons.

  3. What an emotional response without coming close to answering my simple question. Please tell me one group that did not suffer massive tragedy?

    1. Truth and Reconciliation Day is about recognizing the history of Canada’s colonization of indigenous lands and all the harms that stems from it.

      It’s not a day to recognize massive tragedies that ethnic groups face; though colonization let to many massive tragedies for indigenous peoples in Canada. Indigenous people in Canada are unique from other groups facing tragedy in that Indigenous peoples are the only group that suffered the effect of colonization in Canada.

      1. Without colonization, you wouldn`t have electricity, running water, automobiles, antibiotics, computers, all the modern conveniences you rely on. You would still be in the Stone Age. You need to understand that colonization was a net benefit to you and the Indigenous that is enjoyed by you every day and will continue to improve the lives of your children.

      2. You are missing the point and changing your argument when the first one doesn’t fly. Along with colonization came a policy of genocide. This is where first Britain then Canada attempted to kill and eradicate the indigenous people in order to take indigenous titles, lands and resources. Any good in terms of technology brought here from Europe can never outweigh the harms of genocide. That is the truth that needs reconciliation. It is good we have this truth and reconciliation day and conversation so people like you can learn.

  4. Please tell me one group that did not suffer massive tragedy. Jews, Ukrainians, Japanese, maybe the Vietnamese, the Indigenous have no franchise on suffering.

    1. Franchise?? So many things to say in response to this but why? Ignorance will just continue from your mindset. My suggestion is to start with opening a history book and take some classes. That maybe a start to help u understand. Comparing apples to oranges and ignorance is not an excuse nor an equal platform to have a mature discussion.


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