LETHBRIDGE, AB – There is a new statutory holiday in a few weeks and local officials here are hoping this will be more than just another day off for some people.
September 30th was recently declared by federal legislation as the National Day of Truth and Reconciliation.
Perry Stein, the City’s Indigenous Relations Adviser, says this day should be an important one for all Lethbridge residents.
“I think this holiday is more akin to Remembrance Day,” says Stein. “It’s a day we should be reflecting, we should be having conversations with our friends and family about the importance of this day and really educating ourselves about the legacy of genocide in this country and the legacy of residential schools.”
All City of Lethbridge facilities will be closed on September 30th.
Mayor Chris Spearman says the city is asking its employees to attend the local events that recognize Truth and Reconciliation and Lethbridge’s relationship with our Indigenous Peoples. “It’s very much a factor here in the City of Lethbridge. We have been trying to raise awareness and trying to create understanding.”
That day, September 30th was chosen for this new stat holiday because it was the time of year when Indigenous children were taken from their families and forced to attend residential schools.
The City of Lethbridge has made a number of commitments to Truth and Reconciliation, including that in September 2021, the new flagpoles outside City Hall will permanently fly the Siksikaitsitapi (Blackfoot Confederacy) flag.