Thursday marks Canada’s first National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, as communities across the country honour Indigenous survivors and children who disappeared from the residential school system.
The new statutory holiday, which the federal government announced in June, asks the country to reflect on Canada’s history of mistreatment of Indigenous people and the lasting intergenerational trauma of the church-run institutions where children were torn from their families and abused.
Creating a National Day for Truth and Reconciliation was one of the 94 calls to action by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) back in 2015.
The last residential school in Canada closed in 1996, with more than 150,000 First Nations, Metis and Inuit children forced to attend the facilities between the 1870s and 1996, according to the TRC.
The facilities were designed to strip Indigenous people of their culture and language, and replace them with a Christian faith and the English language. There were 139 residential schools in the federally funded program, many of which were run by the Catholic Church.
The TRC’s final report estimates that 6,000 children died while attending the schools, although many say the number could be as high as 15,000.
Despite the marking of Sept. 30 as a federal holiday, several provinces, including Alberta, Saskatchewan, New Brunswick, Quebec and Ontario, have chosen not to recognize it, meaning that schools and provincial offices in these provinces will remain open.
Singing and drumming is set to ring out at 2:15 p.m. PDT from Kamloops, B.C., where the Tk’emlups te Secwepemc Nation announced in May that ground-penetrating radar had detected at least 215 unmarked graves at the site of one of Canada’s largest former residential schools.
At Cowessess First Nation in southern Saskatchewan, where 751 unmarked graves at the site of the former Marieval Residential School were discovered in June, leaders will hold a community feast and powwow on the grounds of the facility to mark the holiday.
Cowessess First Nation Chief Cadmus Delorme said the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation is an important step for Canadians to better understand the pain and trauma many Indigenous people went through at these facilities.
“Recognizing this day is an investment in us and our children and our children yet unborn, so that the truth will prevail that we will all really be in the reconciliation stage with days like this,” he said.
Delorme told CTV News that work to identify those children buried on the site continues, but they have already been able to identify about 300 of them and markers will be made in the near future.
Numerous other Indigenous communities have since reported finding unmarked graves at former residential school sites with the same technology used in Kamloops and Cowessess, prompting calls for justice that have resonated beyond Canada’s border.
The statutory holiday coincides with Orange Shirt Day, which was started in 2013 as a way to honour Indigenous children and educate Canadians about the impact the residential school system had on Indigenous communities. It was inspired by the experiences of Phyllis Webstad, a Northern Secwpemc from the Stswecem’c Xgat’tem First Nation, who had her new orange shirt taken away by residential school staff on her first day of school.
Crowds in orange shirts gathered on Parliament Hill Thursday morning to hear from elders and Indigenous leaders on the horrors of residential schools, and to honour the lost children and survivors. Similar events are being held across the country and online due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Chief Reginald Niganobe of Anishinabek Nation in Ontario told CTV News Channel that the holiday is a step in the “right direction” in acknowledging to learn and make efforts to “undo the colonial systems and legacy of residential schools and the Indian Act.”
“Both these institutions go hand-in-hand and continue this date, which are the cause of inequalities that are knowingly imposed on Indigenous First Nations people,” Niganobe said Thursday.
The Indian Act was introduced in 1876 and was used by the Canadian government to administer Indian status, local First Nations governments and the management of reserve land. Under the Indian Act, Indigenous people were forced to attend residential schools, with the RCMP playing a major role in what survivors call kidnappings.
To mark National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, Niganobe said, Canadians should familiarize themselves with the TRC’s final report, as well as educate themselves on Canada’s colonial legacy from the perspective of Indigenous authors, speakers and elders within their communities.
“I hope this leads to a greater understanding of inequalities that First Nations people face and have always faced and continue to face to this date,” he said. “An education on a lot of this will probably help us move forward as a nation.”
LEADERS RECOGNIZE DAY TO REFLECT
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau took to Twitter early Thursday, noting that the holiday should be a day for reflection to honour residential schools survivors, their families, and those children who never returned home.
He also reaffirmed his government’s commitment to “advancing reconciliation in concrete ways.”
“Together, we must continue to learn about residential schools and the intergenerational trauma they have caused. It is only by facing these truths and righting these wrongs that we, in partnership with Indigenous peoples, can move toward a better future,” Trudeau said in a tweet.
The Queen issued a statement to mark the holiday, acknowledging that Canada’s history in regards to its treatment of Indigenous people is “painful.”
“I join with all Canadians on this first National Day for Truth and Reconciliation to reflect on the painful history that Indigenous peoples endured in residential schools in Canada, and on the work that remains to heal and to continue to build an inclusive society,” she said.
In a joint statement from Indigenous Services Canada, several federal ministers called residential schools a “shameful part of damaging racist and colonial policies” and acknowledged that the government has “more work to do” in addressing the calls to action outlined by the TRC.
“All Canadians have the opportunity to come together to ensure that we commemorate the history and recognize the harmful legacy of residential schools, and that this remains an essential part of reconciliation. It is a time for reflection and a commitment to reconciliation and to continuing the work ahead,” the statement read.
Gov. Gen. Mary Simon, the first Indigenous person to take on the role, said in a statement that the holiday is a poignant one for her as the child of a white father and an Inuk mother.
While she was not allowed to attend residential schools, Simon said, her community “felt the sorrow” of those children who were taken from their families.
“I stayed behind, home-schooled, and visited families where there was a palpable void. I was a stand-in, a well-loved substitute, for mothers and fathers who desperately missed their children,” Simon said in the statement.
Simon said Canada’s legacy of colonization is “hard to accept,” but necessary to address as the country works towards reconciliation.
“Reconciliation is a way of life, continuous, with no end date. It is learning from our lived experiences and understanding one another. It is creating the necessary space for us to heal. It is planting seeds of hope and respect so that our garden blooms for our children,” Simon said.
“As we strive to acknowledge the horrors of the past, the suffering inflicted on Indigenous peoples, let us all stand side-by-side with grace and humility, and work together to build a better future for all.”
Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole issued a statement on Facebook, encouraging Canadians to take part in public commemoration, education, and conversations about the “painful and lasting impacts of residential schools” on Sept. 30.
“This is a heartbreaking reminder of the pain Indigenous children, their families, and their communities were subjected to through residential schools, and that more work needs to be done to address the devastating and harmful effects,” O’Toole said in part. “In order for Canada to reach its full potential as a nation, reconciliation must be central to these efforts.”
On the eve of Canada’s first National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, several survivors spoke to a crowd of hundreds on Parliament Hill to discuss the terrors they experienced in the residential school system.
“It is my hope that in 100 years from now our future generations will identify this date as a milestone in healing the nation and bringing us closer to reconciliation,” said Jimmy Durocher, a Metis man and residential school survivor from Ile-a-la-Crosse, Sask.
With files from The Canadian Press, CTV National News reporter Creeson Agecoutay, and CTVNews.ca writer Ben Cousins
If you are a former residential school student in distress, or have been affected by the residential school system and need help, you can contact the 24-hour Indian Residential Schools Crisis Line: 1-866-925-4419
Additional mental-health support and resources for Indigenous people are available here.
Bitcoin hovers near 6-month high on ETF hopes, inflation worries
Bitcoin hovered near a six-month high early on Monday on hopes that U.S. regulators would soon allow cryptocurrency exchange-traded funds (ETF) to trade, while global inflation worries also provided some support.
Bitcoin last stood at $62,359, near Friday’s six-month high of $62,944 and not far from its all-time high of $64,895 hit in April.
The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is set to allow the first American bitcoin futures ETF to begin trading this week, Bloomberg News reported on Thursday, a move likely to lead to wider investment in digital assets.
Cryptocurrency players expect the approval of the first U.S. bitcoin ETF to trigger an influx of money from institutional players who cannot invest in digital coins at the moment.
Rising inflation worries also increased appetite for bitcoin, which is in limited supply, in contrast to the ample amount of currencies issued by central banks in recent years as monetary authorities printed money to stimulate their economies.
But some analysts noted that, after the recent rally, investors may sell bitcoin on the ETF news.
“The news of a suite of futures-tracking ETFs is not new to those following the space closely, and to many this is a step forward but not the game-changer that some are sensing,” said Chris Weston, head of research at Pepperstone in Melbourne, Australia.
“We’ve been excited by a spot ETF before, and this may need more work on the regulation front.”
(Reporting by Hideyuki Sano in Tokyo and Tom Westbrook in Singapore; Editing by Ana Nicolaci da Costa)
China’s plunging construction starts reminiscent of 2015 downturn
China’s September new construction starts slumped for a sixth straight month, the longest spate of monthly declines since 2015, as cash-strapped developers put a pause on projects in the wake of tighter regulations on borrowing.
New construction starts in September fell 13.54% from a year earlier, the third month of double-digit declines, according to Reuters calculations based on January-September data released by the National Bureau of Statistics on Monday.
That marks the longest downtrend since declines in March-August 2015, the last property malaise.
When the sector recovered in 2016 after authorities loosened their grip on purchases and development, tens of thousands of real estate firms borrowed heavily to build homes.
But as regulations tightened again this year, many of them have started to face a liquidity crunch, which was then worsened by sharply weaker demand due to tighter restrictions on speculative purchases.
Property sales by floor area dropped 15.8% in September, down for a third month, according to Reuters calculations based on the statistics bureau’s data.
The slowdown in the sector was also underscored by a 3.5% drop in property investments by developers in September, the first monthly decline since January-February last year at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic in China.
“All the data are poor,” said Zhang Dawei, chief analyst with property agency Centaline.
“Financing is hard, sales are tough, so of course, there has been no enthusiasm to build. For the first time in history, developers are encountering two blockages – blockages in sales and blockages in financing.”
The potential collapse of highly indebted real estate firms such as China Evergrande Group have raised concerns about systemic risks to the broader economy. The real estate sector accounts for a quarter of China’s gross domestic product.
Authorities will try to prevent problems at Evergrande from spreading to other real estate companies to avoid broader systemic risk, Yi Gang, governor of China’s central bank, said on Sunday.
On Friday, a central bank official said the spillover effect of Evergrande’s debt problems on the banking system was “controllable.”
“There is a likelihood that housing policies may loosen in the fourth quarter, and that would ease the pessimism in the property transaction data,” said Yan Yuejin, director of Shanghai-based E-house China Research and Development Institution.
On Friday, representatives from 10 Chinese Property Companies met government regulators to ask for an “appropriate loosening” on policy restrictions, financial news outlet Yicai reported.
China’s real estate shares have fallen 22% so far this year. On Monday, they were down 2.6% as of 0300 GMT.
In the first nine months, property investment rose 8.8% from a year earlier, slowing from 10.9% growth seen in January-August.
Funds raised by China’s property developers grew 11.1%, slower than the 14.8% rise seen in the first eight months.
(Editing by Jacqueline Wong)
Saks Fifth Avenue ecommerce unit aims for IPO at $6 billion valuation – WSJ
The ecommerce business of luxury department store Saks OFF 5TH is preparing for an initial public offering and targeting a $6 billion valuation, the Wall Street Journal reported Sunday, citing sources.
The company is interviewing potential underwriters this week for an IPO that could take place in the first half of next year, according to the report.
(Reporting by Sheila Dang; Editing by Daniel Wallis)
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