South Peace News
The Town of Falher has declared a new federal statutory holiday Sept. 30.
At its regular meeting Sept. 20, council designated the National Day of Truth and Reconciliation recently announced by the federal government to reflect on tragic Indigenous issues.
“I do feel we should be acknowledging this day,” Mayor Donna Buchinski says.
The day will be a statutory holiday and day off for federal employees and optional for employees in other sectors.
“We want to ensure that public commemoration remains a vital component of the reconciliation process,” council adds in a news release.
“We honour the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation as a small, but meaningful act for commencement of reconciliation not only for the Town of Falher but for the entire Smoky River region.
“It is important to acknowledge that our community is situated on Treaty 8 territory and we honour and acknowledge all of the First Nations, Métis Peoples, and Inuit who have lived, travelled and gathered on these lands for thousands of years.”
Buchinski says few municipalities had responded by Sept. 17.
“By last Friday, 80 per cent of municipalities had not decided what to do,” Buchinski says.
Councillor Lindsay Brown strongly supports the new holiday.
“This is something for our country,” Brown says.
“The provincial government should support it, municipalities and school boards should support it.”
Buchinski says several nearby municipalities have declined to declare the day.
She states the Village of Donnelly, the M.D. of Smoky River, Big Lakes County and the M.D. of Greenview based in Valleyview.
Buchinski says many municipalities will consider it for 2022 and consider some kind of program to educate employee and councils on the issues.
The Town of McLennan and the Town of High Prairie have declared the day,” she notes.
Sept. 30 is also the day for the annual Orange Shirt Day that raises awareness about the impacts of the Indian residential school system.