Trudeau skips Reconciliation event in Tofino intentionally.
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Gathered around the totem pole outside the Best Western Tin Wis Plus Resort in Tofino, dozens of community members from Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation and the surrounding area stood in silence for 2 minutes and 15 seconds.
As the 215 children who never made it home from the Kamloops Indian Residential School were commemorated, only the sounds of nearby waves crashing onshore permeated the silence.
This year, Sept. 30 marked the first National Day for Truth and Reconciliation. The annual day of observance was a response to one of the 94 calls to action outlined in the 2015 Truth and Reconciliation Commission.
To honour the day and to bring awareness to the experiences lived by residential school survivors, Tla-o-qui-aht Community Health Liaison Nora Martin organized a march through the streets of Tofino.
Led by Martin and other residential school survivors, the march began at the totem pole and ended in Tofino’s Village Green. It was followed by a skit performed by the survivors, who re-enacted their experience attending residential schools.
Martin’s sister, Grace Frank, said the performance brought her right back to her time attending the Alberni Indian Residential School in 1968 and 1969, and Christie Residential School from 1970 to 1972.
While onstage performing the role of a nun, Frank repeatedly told her fellow survivors to ‘shut up,’ and called them ‘dumb’ and ‘stupid Indians.’