National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, Saturday, September 30, 2023.
On Saturday, September 30, Mayor and Council and the District of Peachland will be observing our country’s third annual National Day for Truth and Reconciliation.
Canada’s National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, or Orange Shirt Day as it was originally called when it began 10 years ago, is a day for us to collectively honour the survivors of Canada’s residential school system, to remember those who did not survive and to recognize the suffering of those whose loved ones never returned. We mark this terrible truth on this one day, but meaningful truth and reconciliation occurs in our everyday actions and in our everyday words.
I am happy to speak the truth before every Council meeting, to recognize that we conduct business on the unceded, traditional territory of the Sylix/Okanagan people, the first residents of this area. I’m proud that Council unanimously agreed to foster our relationship with our First Nation’s neighbours and friends and to build on our collective and deepening understanding of past harms and ongoing cultural biases and discrimination. In 2018, Peachland signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Westbank First Nation to establish a lasting working relationship based on mutual respect, honour and recognition. This is an essential and eternal foundation that I am proud to strengthen.
On behalf of all Peachland Council, I extend our heartfelt condolences to those in our community, and indeed, our country, who are impacted by the harms of the residential school system and offer our promise to continue to seek the truth, to not shy away from dismantling systemic discrimination, and to do what we can towards true reconciliation.
I invite all residents of Peachland to take a moment to observe this National Day for Truth and Reconciliation on Saturday, September 30.
Patrick Van Minsel