Courier editorials; Wear orange and show solidarity on Thursday for the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation

From the Tuesday, Sept. 28 edition of The Saint Croix Courier

On the front page of today’s paper, you’ll have (I hope) noticed in lieu of or normal editorial fare, we’ve instead placed a simple image to show reverence for the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, a new federal holiday, happening Thursday, Sept. 30.

And while the province has not adopted the day as a holiday (despite many other provinces doing so), there are several municipalities, towns, independent stores and facilities in New Brunswick who have announced they will be closed to honour the day. Honeybeans Cafe in Saint Andrews is an example, posting their intention to close on Facebook yesterday.

And I’ve seen the move across the province from pet food stores to municipal offices and I say kudos to them.

I’ll admit I asked our head office if the Courier office should be closed for the day, but the decision (and it’s one I agree with) was made that the greatest strength we had when it came to showing support for truth and reconciliation were the very pages of our publications.

So that support is spread throughout all our papers in the Advocate family, and I hope you will follow our lead.

For those who don’t know what truth and reconciliation means or encompases, well, I just don’t have the space here to break it down for you.

But resources on the topic abound, from Google searches to books available at the St. Croix Public Library.

I learned from Kate Akagi, deputy mayor of Saint Andrews and member of the Peskotomuhkati Nation St. Stephen’s University is hoping to create and offer a truth and reconciliation course, and my hope is it becomes one that is an open course, available as a stand alone to anyone who cares to take it.

If you are genuine in your desire to learn about the history of Indigenous peoples in Canada, there is a free online course which starts today, Tuesday, Sept. 28 through the University of Alberta. You can register for the course through the university web page, or by going to Coursera (www.coursera.org). A simple Google search of “free Indigenous Canada online course” should take you right to it. If not, email me and I’ll point you in the right direction.

And if you can’t start the course today, I’m guessing you can sign-up late, and if not, it’s been an ongoing course, so will be offered again.

My point is there are multiple resources via multiple platforms that can increase your knowledge and understanding of our Indigenous cultures in Canada, their history, and what we can do to ensure history does not repeat.

I asked Akagi what the average New Brunswicker can do to show their solidarity with our Indigenous and First Nations communities on the National Day of Truth and Reconciliation and without missing a beat, she said “wear orange”.

The story of Phyllis Webstad is on page 3 of today’s paper, but it is her story of her orange shirt that created orange shirt day in Canada, and when you know the story, you understand why seeing a “sea of orange” as Akagi put it shows such support.

I, admittedly, don’t have anything orange, but I’m guessing it wouldn’t be too hard to find, and worth it for the solidarity it represents. I hope you’ll do the same.

Krisi Marples