September 30, 2021 is the first National Day for Truth and Reconciliation. The day honours the lost children and survivors of residential schools, their families, and communities.
The Town of Altona recognizes that education and reflection are crucial components of our work towards reconciliation. As a municipal government, we have been called upon by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission to provide education to all public servants on the history of Indigenous peoples, including the history and legacy of residential schools, the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, Treaties & Indigenous rights, Indigenous law, and Indigenous-Crown relations.
In July, following Canada Day, we committed to answering this call to action, to engaging in intentional and meaningful conversations, and listening and learning.
As part of that commitment, we registered our team in training courses from the Indigenous Leadership Development Institute, a non-profit corporation based in Winnipeg which supports self-governance and capacity building in the Indigenous community. This e-learning course, titled Indigenous Awareness Training, was specifically designed for non-Indigenous people working with Indigenous communities, and provided education on the topics highlighted in the call to action.
All of Council, management, and front-line staff were required to complete the course by September 30, 2021, with the remainder required to finish by December 31, 2021. As of today, 86% of the team have completed the course, with some members of staff and Council seeking out additional training courses to further their knowledge and understanding of the history of Indigenous peoples in Canada.
On September 30, 2021:
The Town of Altona Administration offices and Public Works department will be closed in observance of the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation. The arena will remain open for scheduled bookings, the waste disposal site will remain open, and waste collection will proceed as scheduled. Staff have been asked to take this time to reflect on what they have learned so far, and further reflect upon the impact of residential schools, and have been provided with a list of resources and further educational opportunities.
Municipal flags will be lowered to half-mast, and will remain at half-mast on October 1st, 2021 as students from Ecole Elmwood School participate in a memorial walk which concludes at the flagpoles.
We encourage you to spend time this week learning and reflecting. Here are some links to educational resources.
- The National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation has put together five days of programming, available online: https://nctr.ca/education/trw/general-public-schedule/
- A guide from CBC on how to talk to kids about the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation: https://www.cbc.ca/parents/learning/view/how-to-talk-to-kids-about-national-day-for-truth-and-reconciliation
- APTN will be honouring the first National Day for Truth and Reconciliation with a day of special coverage. https://honourtheday.ca
- The story behind “Orange Shirt Day”: https://www.orangeshirtday.org/phyllis-story.html
The Altona Community Foundation is now accepting applications for fall grants. The deadline is October 31, 2021. Check out the information below to learn more, and visit https://altonacommunityfoundation.com/request-a-grant/