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NAIT to close in honour of National Day for Truth and Reconciliation

Photo that says the national day for truth and reconciliation

By Noah Rishaug

In June of this year, the Canadian government approved the creation of a new statutory holiday, the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, to be recognized each year on September 30.

The day was created in part in response to the discovery of unmarked mass graves on residential school grounds. Many Canadians are able to make the connection between the day and the events of the past few months, however there is a lot of confusion as to what the day should mean to us and how it should be observed.

Truth and Reconciliation day is recognized by some provinces as a statutory holiday. However, the description of holiday may be misleading as Truth and Reconciliation day is not intended to be a day of celebration like Canada day or New Years, but rather of respectful commemoration and recognition.
Specifically, Indigenous leaders are asking Canadians to use their time off this week to familiarize themselves with the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s 94 calls to action they presented to the government in 2015. In fact, the establishment of a national holiday of commemoration is a direct response to Call to Action 80.

NAIT has made the decision to recognize the holiday, despite the province of Alberta not declaring Truth and Reconciliation day a mandatory paid holiday. The school will close campus and cancel classes for Truth and Reconciliation day, in order to give students time to learn about the Indigenous culture and the 94 calls to action. Similar decisions have been made across some other post-secondaries in the city. NAIT’s student association (NAITSA) will also stop operations during the day.

“The reason we’ve decided to [close] is because we believe that the day holds major significance for Canada, but also more locally for NAIT,” states NAITSA president Jerilyn Kotelniski. “Our choice was to close the office to take the time to honour and commemorate the day.”

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