Content Warning: Residential Schools
Image Credit: Andy Everson. You can see and support his work here.
Today is the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, marked to recognize the ongoing trauma caused by residential schools. The holiday was proposed in response to Action 80 of the 2015 Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada which called upon the federal government, in collaboration with Indigenous peoples, to establish a statutory holiday for Truth and Reconciliation. The goal of the day is “to honor Survivors, their families, and communities, and ensure that public commemoration of the history and legacy of residential schools remains a vital component of the reconciliation process.”
Today is an opportunity to reflect on the history of residential schools, and to commit to the process of truth, reconciliation, and justice with First Nations, Inuit, and Metis across Canada. The process of truth-telling is park of an overall response to the legacy of residential schools, and reconciliation requires acknowledging past injustices and the need for continued healing. Breakaway stands in solidarity with all our Indigenous community members and those affected by the lasting impacts of residential schools.
As a community mental health agency, Breakaway acknowledges the impact of colonization, residential schools, the sixties scoop, and intergenerational trauma on the mental health and wellbeing of Indigenous communities. Poorer mental health and addiction outcomes are largely linked to systemic anti-Indigenous racism and the ongoing effects of colonization. We recognize the systems of prejudice, racism, and inequality in this country’s history and recommit ourselves to learning, reflecting, and growing.
We encourage folks to wear orange today, as a show of support, and to take time to learn more about the history of residential schools. The National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation is a good place to start if you’re looking for education resources.
Hard feelings may arise today for those impacted by residential schools. The National Residential School Crisis Line (1-866-925-4419) is available 24 hours a day for survivors and their families and provides cultural support, emotional support, and mental health counselling services.
Other Indigenous-Specific Mental Health Resources Include:
The Hope for Wellness Helpline: 1-855-242-2210 or hopeforwellness.ca
Talk4Healthing (For Indigenous Women): 1-855-554-HEAL
Native Youth Crisis Line: 1-877-209-1266