A ceremonial cloth with the names of 2,800 children who died in residential schools and were identified in the National Student Memorial Register, is carried to the stage during the Honouring National Day for Truth and Reconciliation ceremony in Gatineau, Quebec on Monday, Sept. 30, 2019. The National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation’s director says Ottawa and provincial and territorial governments must establish monuments in capital cities across Canada to honour residential schools’ survivors and their families. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang

A ceremonial cloth with the names of 2,800 children who died in residential schools and were identified in the National Student Memorial Register, is carried to the stage during the Honouring National Day for Truth and Reconciliation ceremony in Gatineau, Quebec on Monday, Sept. 30, 2019. The National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation’s director says Ottawa and provincial and territorial governments must establish monuments in capital cities across Canada to honour residential schools’ survivors and their families. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang

Residential-school survivors call on Ottawa and provinces for monuments

Stephanie Scott says symbols are powerful medicine to bring comfort to survivors

The director of that National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation says Ottawa and provincial and territorial governments must build monuments in capital cities across Canada to honour residential-school survivors and their families.

Speaking to the House of Commons heritage committee, Stephanie Scott says symbols are powerful medicine to bring comfort to survivors and to keep their experiences in front of the nation.

Scott says creating a national day to mark truth and reconciliation is also important, to acknowledge survivors and the human-rights violations they endured.

Sept. 30 is currently Orange Shirt Day, after the experience of Phyllis Webster, whose gift of clothing from her grandmother was taken away on her first day at a residential school.

The heritage committee is examining a government bill to turn the day into a national occasion for a broader observance of the history of the schools.

Stephen Kakfwi, a residential-school survivor and former premier of the Northwest Territories, says this national day should not be seen as a holiday but as a day of honouring and remembering, like Remembrance Day.

The Canadian Press


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