The Athabasca Tribal Council is hoping residents will use Canada Day as a time to learn more about the country’s and Indigenous history.
The ATC, along with the RMWB, released a statement on Tuesday where they noted they want to see events continue as planned, though with a strong emphasis on building a Canada that everyone wants to see for future generations.
“It is our hope that on July 1st and beyond, people will take the opportunity to have an open dialogue about our past, present and future as both Indigenous and non-Indigenous people work together towards a stronger Canada,” said Allan Adam, ATC President.
Several Indigenous communities have stated they don’t plan on using the day to celebrate, but rather to reflect and remember.
This comes as the remains of over 1,300 children have been found at former residential school sites. This does not include Holy Angels which was set up in Fort Chipewyan.
“It’s not the time to celebrate… we have a lot of people grieving, we have a lot of people who we know were in residential schools,” said Gail Gallupe, President of the McMurray Métis.
This statement is echoed by the Fort McKay Métis Nation.
President Ron Quintal says they have no problem with people celebrating the day, they just want all of Canada to understand why they’re not.
“I don’t want to take away from anybody’s ability to enjoy the festivities and to enjoy the holiday, but, if you can and if you would like, just take a moment to reflect and understand that there’s a long path ahead here.”
Meanwhile, a march is being held to recognize everyone who was impacted by residential schools.
The ATC and RMWB are each supporting the ‘Bring Our Children Home Healing Rally.’
It will travel the Canada Day parade route, along Clearwater Drive, in the opposite direction of parade attendees.
It gets underway at 10 a.m. with interested individuals needing to walk to take part.