An orange tide circulates in the streets of Montreal, Saturday afternoon, during a march for the International Day for Truth and Reconciliation.
Hundreds of people gathered at the beginning of the afternoon at the foot of Mount Royal, then walked to Place du Canada, in the city’s downtown core.
The marchers, most of them dressed in orange sweaters, gathered to highlight the struggles and rights of indigenous people, but also to honor the memory of the victims of residential schools.
The sound of drums could be heard during the march, and “Every child matters” could be read on signs held above the crowd.
“I hope the general public understands that we are here to talk about a horrible period in Canadian history […] of how Canada has treated Indigenous people. It’s a dark time we’ve been through, and if we don’t learn our past, we’re going to repeat it,” said Ann Deer, member of the board of directors of Résilience Montréal, who organized the march with the Foyer for indigenous women of Montreal.
The Prime Minister of Canada, Justin Trudeau, affirmed, in a statement released Saturday morning, that reconciliation is the responsibility of “each of us”.
“Today, on this National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, also known as Orange Shirt Day, we face the lasting consequences of the residential school system for First Nations, Inuit and Métis people. in Canada. We come together to remember the children who were taken from their communities and those whose lives were stolen in these so-called schools. We honor survivors, many of whom were victims of physical, emotional and sexual abuse. We listen to their truths and we reiterate our commitment to building a better future for Indigenous peoples and for everyone in Canada,” the Prime Minister wrote.
The Prime Minister of Quebec, François Legault, for his part wrote in a publication on X, formerly Twitter: “On this National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, let us remember their stories. We all have a duty to know each other better, to understand each other better.”
On this National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, let us remember their stories. We all have a duty to know each other better, to understand each other better. pic.twitter.com/ETkdWqaTaO
— François Legault (@francoislegault) September 30, 2023
The mayor of Montreal, Valérie Plante, invited citizens to “listen to our fellow Indigenous citizens and reflect on their historical contribution” on the occasion of this day.
“Together, we are moving forward on the path to reconciliation with heart and conviction,” she said, in a message published on X.
Together, we move forward on the path to reconciliation with heart and conviction. ????
Let us take advantage of the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation to listen to our fellow Indigenous citizens and reflect on their historical contribution. pic.twitter.com/wALZze4qa6
— Valérie Plante (@Val_Plante) September 30, 2023