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City supporting #ActOnReconciliation campaign

For immediate release: January 26, 2022 - 10:35am
ST22-2800

Following the first National Day for Truth and Reconciliation (NDTR) on September 30, 2021, the Saskatoon Tribal Council has initiated a campaign called #ActOnReconciliation. It’s intended to harness the momentum of NDTR and Orange Shirt Day (also September 30) and keep Reconciliation top of mind all year long.

The campaign coincides with a time when the devastating discoveries of unmarked graves at former residential schools keep coming. Yesterday, Williams Lake First Nation announced the discovery of potential human burials on the former grounds of St. Joseph's Mission Residential School in British Columbia’s central interior. The City of Saskatoon is lowering its flags to show support for Williams Lake First Nation, Survivors, and all families impacted by residential schools.

Saskatoon Tribal Chief Mark Arcand says: “Sharing how we are going to take action going forward to make reconciliation happen is the way through the dark history of Residential Schools to heal our intergenerational trauma and improve the quality of life for our people. It is by coming together united in a common cause, such as the movement #ActOnReconciliation, that we build community and strengthen relationships to move forward in a good way.”

The City is supporting this initiative by challenging its employees and Saskatoon residents to act on Reconciliation throughout 2022.

Saskatoon Mayor Charlie Clark says: “Reconciliation begins with truth. And every day, we hear more truths about the injustices that Indigenous peoples have faced in our community and our country – from hurtful comments to structural racism to the deaths of children, as we learned about yesterday from Williams Lake First Nation. We have a role and a responsibility to act on these truths, every day, with an open mind and heart, and to be part of building a community that honours all of us equally.”

The City’s Director of Indigenous Initiatives, Melissa Cote, says: “The demonstrations of support in our community for Reconciliation this fall were unprecedented—but Reconciliation is more than one day. We need to keep making steps forward on our journey to Reconciliation, as individuals and organizations; undertaking big and small actions to continue the healing in our community.”

#ActOnReconciliation Challenge

On the last Friday of each month, the City is encouraging its employees and all Saskatoon residents to:

  1. Wear their EveryChildMatters shirt or any other orange shirt.
  2. Consider taking up the suggested Reconciliation action for the month (see below) or any other Reconciliation action.
  3. Use the hashtag #ActOnReconciliation to share the action they’re taking and challenge their followers to also #ActOnReconciliation.

Suggested action for January – Land Acknowledgment

Consider adding a Land Acknowledgment to your e-signature, newsletter, website, or other. Post a Land Acknowledgment at your place of business/learning/recreation/other. Learn why Land Acknowledgments matter and how to create yours by checking out this Teaching and Learning material provided by the University of Saskatchewan.

In order to establish and maintain a mutually respectful relationship between Indigenous and non-Indigenous people, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) found that “there has to be awareness of the past, an acknowledgement of the harm that has been inflicted, atonement for the causes, and action to change behaviour.”

The City has been actively engaged – as a municipality, Co-Chair of Reconciliation Saskatoon, and through other community partnerships – in efforts to help raise awareness about Reconciliation and in providing opportunities to participate. Learn more at saskatoon.ca/Indigenous.