AMC Expresses Disappointment in Delaying Decision to Honour Truth and Reconciliation Day as a Statutory Holiday
September 2, 2022
Treaty One Territory, Manitoba
Treaty One Territory, Manitoba – The Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs (AMC) issues this statement today in response to the Manitoba government announcing that September 30th, 2022, will not be a statutory holiday, citing that this decision requires more time and discussion.
Over 30 years ago, the first survivors, including the prominent former AMC Grand Chief Phil Fontaine, stood up to share their truths about the Indian Residential Schools. These testaments served as the foundation of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) which was created to bring forward the hidden abuses within the schools.
In September 2020, the federal government introduced Bill C-5 (National Day for Truth and Reconciliation), which proposed making September 30th a statutory holiday in response to the Call to Action 80 of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. Bill C-5 states that the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation is to honour First Nations, Inuit and Métis Survivors, their families, and communities. The day is meant to be a public commemoration of their history, and the legacy of residential schools remains a vital component of the reconciliation process.
“Having a statutory holiday would mean that First Nations could take time to gather in ceremony with friends and family without the burden of sacrificing their income,” said Deputy Grand Chief Cornell McLean. “The provincial government had ample time to process and approve this statutory holiday. Not only has it been seven years since the TRC made this Call to Action, but it has been two years since Bill C-5 was introduced to get the statutory holiday in place so First Nations can take time to honour Survivors and the children who did not make it home from residential schools. The earmarking of this day as a provincial holiday could have been a step in their reconciliation efforts that they have been found to be lacking in implementation.”