The following statement is being issued on behalf of John Henry, Regional Chair and Chief Executive Officer:
In light of the recent discoveries in British Columbia and Saskatchewan, and in solidarity and respect for Indigenous neighbours, on Canada Day I encourage all residents to take this time to reflect on our relationships — both past and present — with Indigenous Peoples, and to move forward with reconciliation in our hearts, minds and actions.
The unacceptable truth is that there have been discoveries like this before — and there will be more discoveries in the future.
I am grateful for the work Indigenous leaders are undertaking to search more former residential school sites, and we continue to stand in solidarity with Indigenous Peoples.
As Indigenous History month comes to a close on Canada Day, I am reminded yet again that the time is far overdue to examine our relationships with Indigenous Peoples, and the lands we have the privilege to call our home.
On June 21, Indigenous Peoples Day, the Region installed a flagpole to permanently fly the Mississaugas of Scugog Island First Nation flag at Regional Headquarters, in recognition of the lands on which we reside and work.
While this is a gesture we are proud of, we know much more work is required to build meaningful relationships with Indigenous neighbours that uphold the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Calls to Action in all our spaces.
We have always prided ourselves on being one of the best countries in the world because we are open, honest, and welcoming. We need to uphold that reputation this Canada Day, and take this time to be open and honest with ourselves, and our historic and present-day relationship with the First Peoples of this land.