National Aboriginal Day
By Laura Love
By Laura Love
Today marks the 20th anniversary of National Aboriginal Day in Canada. This day was first established in 1996 by Romeo LeBlanc, the Governor General at the time. After a national meeting was organized between The Sacred Assembly of Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal spiritual leaders in 1995, it was agreed and encouraged that the federal government declare a ‘National First Peoples Day’ on or around the Summer Solstice as a day of unity, celebration, and to acknowledge the contributions of Aboriginal Peoples to Canadian society. This is also a day of reflection, to not only recognize and celebrate the bountiful gifts given to Canadian heritage by the Metis, Inuit and First Nations, but to also consider the darker side of this shared history.
There is a view that the residential school system is something of the past, an event that has little to no prevalence to today. There were over 150,000 children that went through these schools, 139 of these schools were federally funded across Canada and in Alberta alone there were 25 schools, the last of which closed in 1975. The total number of schools in Canada does not include the additional church run facilities.
Historica Canada has released the newest addition to their one minute history extracts of Canadian history. Most often told from the perspective of the settler, this year Heritage Minutes, instead of using an actor, has included a real live person. This is not a story from past eras, nor a portrayal of a historical figure, it is of a memory of a person that is still living, and of an event that is not so far back into our history that we need an actor to portray it. This acknowledgment of the relevance of residential schools and the impact it has on our contemporary society, can help continue the healing process.
As a part of this healing process, the museum, in partnership with The Sagitawa Friendship Society, welcome everyone to explore an artistic interpretation of Canadian history by Ha-yalth-kingemecalled, ‘Witness Blanket.’ This exhibit will run from July 1st to the 27th of August and as requested by the artist admission is free.
Attached below is the website of Historica Canada where you can find their new video:https://www.historicacanada.ca/