Marking the first National Day for Truth and Reconciliation

A white design on an orange flag. It depicts a family with two children and a series of Indigenous symbols and medicines from First Nations, Metis and Inuit culture.

September 30, 2021

On the first National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, we remember and mourn every child who died or went missing while attending Indian residential schools. We honour Survivors and Inter-generational Survivors and their families and communities. Today, the CAA recommits to supporting Indigenous rights as outlined in the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. Our Working Group on Unmarked Graves will continue to develop resources to support First Nations, Métis and Inuit communities should they choose to try to locate their lost children. Our Ethics Review committee will soon have a draft of our revised Statements of Ethical Principles to share for feedback. They have prioritized supporting Indigenous rights throughout the revision process. We continue to fundraise to support our new scholarship for Indigenous students. You can donate to the scholarship fund here. Every little bit will help us reach our goal.

When he tabled the 94 Calls to Action of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada, Murray Sinclair called on Indigenous and non-Indigenous people from coast to coast to coast to commit to the work of reconciliation. He said:

It matters not only for those who are with us today, but also the generations to come and the spirits of those who are not with us here today whose memories we must honour.

We must work together…we must speak the truth.

At its heart, reconciliation is about forming respect.

The sacred fire lit at sunrise a few days ago will be extinguished in the coming days. …now we must light this fire within ourselves…and let our conviction, courage, commitment and our love keep this fire burning.

As archaeologists, we have many opportunities to do the work of building and nurturing those respectful relationships. Reconciliation will take time, patience and persistence. As individuals and as a discipline, let’s feed the fire and keep it burning.