Nearly a thousand people marched through the streets of the metropolis on Friday, as part of the National Day of Truth and Reconciliation.
< p> “Many people are not aware of what we have been through for generations. But that's starting to change and that's what's important on this day,” said Steve McComber of the Mohawk Nation, who hopes the march can help change perceptions.
Across the country, various demonstrations and events took place on Friday, in tribute to indigenous peoples. Last year, the Government of Canada declared the day a statutory holiday.
Kahsennenhawe Sky-Deer, Grand Chief of Kahnawake, hopes that the day can educate and share what s happened, especially with the residential schools.
“It breaks your heart to know that we had to go through this because of who we were. We are here to recognize trauma and support each other,” she said.
She also recalled that until today, indigenous communities are often poor, and must live with the intergenerational trauma of these “atrocities”.
Although the Day is a public holiday in Canada, it is not recognized by the Quebec government.
“Perhaps one day eventually Quebec will be ready to make it a holiday, from the moment it recognizes systemic racism,” hoped Lucie Catherine Ouimet of the Anishnaabe nation.
The march began at the foot of Mount Royal, ending at Place du Canada, where, until it was unbolted, stood the statue of John A. Macdonald, the first prime minister of Canada criticized for the policy he carried out on behalf of Aboriginal people.
Some political figures also took part, including Chantal Rouleau, Minister responsible for the Montreal region.
“Reconciliation is necessary. We are all very touched by what happened and we want to show all our solidarity, ”she explained. However, she indicated that the idea of making the day a public holiday “is not currently being discussed”.
Alia Hassan-Cournol, who is in charge of reconciliation with Indigenous peoples at the City of Montreal, was present with some elected officials from Projet Montréal. Elected officials from the opposition party Ensemble Montréal were also on hand, including Chief Aref Salem.
“It is important to listen to what the survivors and the members of the First Nations have to tell us. Reconciliation is everyday. It puts things back in place,” explained Ms. Hassan-Cournol.
She also indicated that for “the first time in history”, the flag of the survivors flies at the town hall. from Montreal. “It's symbolic, but it's important. Today is a day of meditation, but it's also a time to look to the future,” she added.
In addition to members of Aboriginal communities, several people were on the march to show their support.
“They are the founding people. We owe them everything. I find it very important to remember the suffering they had,” said Robert, for example.
“We are here to listen to them. We have to ask ourselves what we can do in our daily lives and get involved,” revealed Indira.
Katrine Johns has been a reporter on the news desk since 2013. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining The Gal Post, Katrine Johns worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my email@example.com 1-800-268-7128