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Mayor Nancy Peckford’s Statement for Canada Day

June 30, 2021

Mayor Nancy Peckford issued the follwing statement in the lead up to Canada Day: Take the Time to Learn more. 

It’s been a difficult year and many of us are looking forward to Canada Day. This year, there is no doubt that Canada Day should be one of reflection and remembrance. It’s an opportunity for all of us to thoughtfully examine what it means to be Canadian and understand our country’s extensive Indigenous roots and the racism that still exists today.

Our local volunteers from the Kemptville District Community Association and the Oxford Mills Community Association have put together a wonderful virtual Canada Day program, including a live virtual concert with the help of Jamming around Man and Francois Desormeaux. The popular GooseChase Scavenger Hunt is back, the first ever Paddle Poker Run on the Kemptville Creek and free swimming at the Kemptville Pool. We thank them so much for their efforts!

Regardless of how you celebrate, we ask that you mark the occasion respectfully and commit to learning more about our country’s history. Council recognizes that the original peoples on this land were Indigenous, and that learning more about Indigenous leaders and the many cultures that now comprise this country is everyone’s responsibility.

As non-indigenous Canadians become increasingly aware of the tragic deaths of thousands of Indigenous children sent to residential schools over seven generations, this is more important than ever. Consequently, we have chosen to keep flags at half-mast. The Truth and Reconciliation Commission Report released in 2014 has an extensive chapter on residential schools. Here’s the link. 

In addition, CBC (along with a number of other radio stations, including Moose FM) is broadcasting a day of Indigenous-led radio programming on June 30th . 

CBC’s programming will air in partnership with the Gord Downie and Chanie Wenjack Fund.  

Finally, it is important to recognize that whether you are indigenous or non-indigenous, many people have different views on how to mark Canada Day this year. Let’s be kind and respectful in how we approach our neighbours and friends on this issue. The reality is that Canada means many different things to many different people. I don’t believe there is a clear right or wrong on this, but I do believe we can all aspire for better. This is the intention and spirit in which Council encourages all residents of North Grenville to mark the day.   

Wear an Orange T-Shirt

Because Residential schools are a significant part of Canada’s history, the Ontario Native Women’s Association (ONWA) is encouraging all Canadians to consider wearing orange for part of the day. This is to recognize and honour the thousands of Indigenous children forcibly taken to residential school, and highlight the incredible resiliency of so many residential survivors in Canada. #WearOrangeOnCanadaDay as a call to all levels of government to implement all Truth and Reconciliation 94 Calls to Action; an important step in rebuilding Canada's relationship with Indigenous peoples.

Wise Words from Cowessess First Nation Chief Cadmus Delorme

This is what Cowessess First Nation Chief Cadmus Delorme’s from Saskatchewan (where over 700 unmarked graves were confirmed last week) had to say:   

"From a First Nation perspective, I love living in Canada. I went to university, I grew up on Cowessess, I have the best job I think I ever wanted, being chief. It's not an easy task. But there is an accidental racism and ignorance in this country when it comes to history.  You know, Indigenous people - and I'm speaking from Cowessess perspective - we don't want to live in our current state. We want to be part of the economy. We want to be part of the growth... the social lives.

Sometimes in this country, being Indigenous, it's as if you gotta prove yourself a little more. You're so used seeing maybe, someone asking for change and being Indigenous... you know, there's a story behind every one, of the history that we inherited. So my comment to everybody listening is, from Cowessess, we're not asking for pity. We're asking for understanding. We're asking that you stand beside us, that as we are gaining our control again - as Indigenous people - in our Treaty relationship, that we have better understanding. That our kids going to school understand the impact that residential school made, but also even pre... what great economy Indigenous people had prior to Treaty. This country would be so much more well-off, when Indigenous ideology and understanding is welcomed in, and not just brought in on certain days of the year…”

(On the debate over whether to cancel Canada Day)

“I would never tell somebody what to and what not to celebrate. You know, in 2021, we all inherited this.  Nobody today created residential schools. Nobody today created the Indian Act. Nobody today created the Sixties Scoop. But we all inherited this. And if we want to say we're proud Canadians, then we will accept the beautiful country we have today, and we will accept what we all inherited. And what I would challenge is: Everybody on Canada Day in this country, if you say you're a proud Canadian, read the Truth and Reconciliation 'Calls to Action.' Over 100,000 residential school survivors told their story - including my parents - and they created the Truth and Reconciliation 'Calls to Action.' Bring that into your personal life, your social life, your business life.  And read the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls 'Calls to Action.' There's 231 Calls to Action. If we can all own those a little bit in this country, in one generation we would overcome so many challenges today, that our next generation won't inherit this. We will make them more as Dreamers."

 

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