'Everybody should be off on that day': Indigenous leaders in N.B. say of Sept. 30 holiday

The Indigenous Women of the Wabanaki Territories is calling on New Brunswick businesses to shut their doors on Sept. 30 in solidarity, despite the provincial government's decision not to recognize the date as a provincial statutory holiday.

The National Day for Truth and Reconciliation is a new federal statutory holiday that will be marked for the first time in a matter of weeks, and is dedicated to reflecting on the history of the residential school system – and the discoveries of many unmarked graves.

"Those were babies that were taken from their homes that never returned home some of them, and that's a day we should sit in solitude and celebrate them and gather, we should have that opportunity," says president of the organization, Brandy Stanovich. "Everybody should be off on that day so they can come and join in those ceremonies and the learning from Indigenous people, because it is our history and it does carry down through our bloodlines."

Despite the decision from the provincial government, the city of Miramichi does plan to participate in the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation.

This will become a designated paid holiday for the municipality, allowing employees of the city to take part in the day.

"We were in a position, our collective agreements with our unions allowed for us to do this," says Miramichi mayor Adam Lordon.

"As a council we felt it was very important to participate in the day."

The town of Sussex has also posted on social media that they too will be observing on September 30 – allowing town employees to recognize and reflect.

The post also says that they encourage everyone to take a moment on that day to honour survivors, and to think about what each one of us can do to advance reconciliation.