Today marks Canada’s National Day for Truth and Reconciliation. On this day, I encourage all Milton and Halton Region citizens to honour the lost children and survivors of residential schools, their families, and communities. Today is also Orange Shirt Day that is an Indigenous-led grassroots commemorative day raising awareness of the very tragic legacy of residential schools, and honour the survivors. It is a day of reflection, listening, learning and growing.

For our First Nation, Metis and Inuit community members in Milton, today may further signal pain or distress. The residential school crisis line is available 24/7 at 1-866-925-4419 and the Kids Help Phone at 1-800-668-6868 or text 686868. 

Over this past year, Council has taken deliberate efforts towards Indigenous cultural awareness and resurgence in Milton, and cultivating strong relationships as a first step towards reconciliation.

In July of this year, the Town adopted a traditional land acknowledgement statement created with the Mississaugas of the Credit First Nation. The statement was a small, but important part of the process of reconciliation, as well as efforts to cultivate strong relationships with our First Nation, Metis, and Inuit community, heighten cultural awareness, and recognize our role as stewards of Milton’s lands.

The Town’s first Culture Plan identifies avenues for the Town to help culture flourish in Milton. One of the avenues included in the plan is supporting Indigenous cultural resurgence. This particular avenue cites 13 actions, reinforcing Council’s commitment to their role in reconciliation and Indigenous cultural resurgence.

More recently, Council passed a resolution as a commitment to recognize September 30, annually, as the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation to include the following actions:

  • Council directed me to write a letter to the Ontario Government requesting that the government and Halton school boards work together to develop and implement a mandatory discussion about Indigenous history in Canada as part of all future studies about Canadian history at the elementary, secondary and post-secondary levels of education provincially
  • Staff review the eight recommendations by the TRC pertaining to municipal responsibilities and report back to Council in January 2022, with a proposed call to action
  • An orange crosswalk be installed to commemorate all Indigenous children, and recognize and support our local Indigenous community as soon as reasonably possible
  • Staff explore options for future public art installations in Milton, in consultation with our Indigenous community members and Mississaugas of the Credit First Nation, to commemorate all Indigenous children, support cultural resurgence and recognize our local Indigenous community

We still have a lot of work to do, but we are continuing to make efforts to cultivate strong relationships with our Indigenous community and to recognize our roles and necessary actions towards reconciliation.

Today on September 30, and every day, please do your part to commemorate truth and reconciliation, recognize Canada’s tragic and painful history towards our Indigenous Peoples, and honour the lost children and survivors of residential schools, their families, and communities. Every Child Matters.

Mayor Gord Krantz

 

Resources for our community: