Six Nations not recognizing Canada Day; hosting virtual event to honour residential school survivors

Shoes line the edge of the Centennial Flame on Parliament Hill in memory of the 215 children whose remains were found at the grounds of the former Kamloops Indian Residential School at Tk’emlups te Secwépemc First Nation in Kamloops, B.C., on Sunday, May 30, 2021, THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang

Six Nations will not be recognizing Canada Day on July 1 following the discoveries of unmarked graves at residential school sites across the country.

Instead, Six Nations is encouraging everyone to wear orange and engage in a day of education and reflection regarding Canada's legacy toward Indigenous peoples.

“Although people have many different reasons to celebrate being Canadian, we ask that they also acknowledge Canada’s colonial legacy and the effects it has had and continues to have on our people,” Chief Mark Hill said in a release. “We ask that you take the opportunity on July 1st to stand in solidarity with us and reflect on what it means to be an Indigenous person in Canada.”

Six Nations will also be hosting a virtual event to honour the children and survivors. The event will take place at Veteran's Park in Ohsweken at 10:30 a.m. and be live streamed on the Six Nations of the Grand River Facebook page.

Those who attend in person must wear a mask, adhere to physical distancing and follow all COVID-19 public health guidelines.

Tune in tomorrow at 10:30a.m. on the @SixNationsGR Facebook page to watch the live streaming of...

Honouring the Children and Survivors
Featuring the Old Mush Singers

— Six Nations of the Grand River (@SixNationsGR) June 30, 2021

Community members in need of support can access the Six Nations 24/7 Mobile Crisis Line at 519-445-2204 or 1-866-2204. Six Nations also operates a Mental Health and Addictions Line Monday to Friday at 519-445-2143.

A list of further Indigenous mental health resources can be accessed here.

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 at 1-866-925-4419, or the Indian Residential School Survivors Society toll free line at 1-800-721-0066.