National Day for Truth and Reconciliation
On June 3, 2021, the Canadian Government declared September 30 National Day for Truth and Reconciliation in commemoration of the lost children and survivors of residential schools. This announcement marked the most recent development in Canada’s efforts towards Reconciliation, which remains an ongoing process. The following timeline highlights some of the local and national developments in this fight for justice, but is by no means comprehensive.
A Timeline of Truth and Reconciliation in Canada
June 30, 1970: The St. Eugene’s Mission Residential School in Cranbrook closes after 80 years of operation. Most Syilx students were sent either to Cranbrook or Kamloops.
May 5, 1977: The North Okanagan Friendship Center Society (NOFCS) is established in Vernon to provide programs, services, and support to the community.
July 31, 1978: The Kamloops Residential School closes after 88 years of operation.
1994: The Indian Residential School Survivors Society begins as a working committee of the First Nations Summit.
1996: Canada’s last federally-funded residential school, the Gordon’s Residential School in Punnichy, Saskatchewan, closes.
March 31, 1998: The Aboriginal Healing Foundation is established to fund projects that address the intergenerational impacts of Canada’s residential school system.
2001: The documentary “Survivors of the Red Brick Schoolhouse” is produced by a group of former Syilx students of the St. Eugene’s Mission Residential School, under the direction of Virginia Baptiste.
Nov. 23, 2005: The Canadian Government announces a $2-billion compensation package for Indigenous Peoples who were forced to attend residential schools.
2008: Prime Minister Stephen Harper offers an apology to residential school survivors.
2008: The Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada (TRC) is officially launched. Over the course of 6 years, the TRC interviews more than 6,500 witnesses, and hosts 7 national events to engage and educate the Canadian public.
2015: The TRC releases its final report which includes 94 Calls to Action.
2015: The Okanagan Nation Alliance (ONA) establishes the Syilx Indian Residential School Committee.
Nov. 28, 2017: The ONA unveils the Syilx Okanagan Indian Residential School Monument in Penticton.
June 18, 2020: OKIB Chief Byron Louis and Vernon Mayor Victor Cumming begin regular meetings to develop a stronger relationship between the Band and the City.
To learn more, please join us at the museum on September 30, 2021, to honour National Day for Truth and Reconciliation with a series of presentations and displays. Click here to learn more.
Gwyn Evans, Research and Communications Coordinator