York Regional Police is recognizing the National Day of Truth and Reconciliation on Sept. 29 with a candlelight vigil to honour the lives lost at residential schools and the survivors, their families and communities still affected by this tragic legacy.
The vigil take place at the marine unit headquarters at 57 Lorne St. in Jackson’s Point, Georgina, on Thursday, Sept. 29 at 8:30 p.m.
Chief Jim MacSween, who will deliver opening remarks, will be joined by members of the Chippewas of Georgina Island, including Elder Lauri Hoeg, who will be performing a traditional drum circle.
The public is invited to attend the vigil "as we acknowledge this dreadful piece of Canadian history and the impact it is continuing to have on Indigenous communities across the country," police said.
“This is the second year members of YRP have spent the day recognizing the importance of truth and reconciliation on a national level,” said MacSween. “We need to learn what we can do collectively (to) support our Indigenous community as well as what we, as individuals, can do to take an active role as allies.”
Also on Thursday, Truth and Reconciliation flags will be raised at the training and education facility, #3 District, and the marine unit. The flag will also fly at YRP headquarters in Aurora on Friday.
The new Indigenous crosswalk will be unveiled in a private ceremony at the Community Safety Village in Whitchurch-Stouffville on Thursday. Designed to recognize the contributions of Indigenous communities, the crosswalk will help us educate young people on this important part of our nation’s past, police said.
Uniform officers will also be wearing orange epaulettes, "our way to join Canadians for the annual Orange Shirt Day, established in 2013 to honour victims with the slogan Every Child Matters," police said.
The Truth and Reconciliation Commission estimates that 4,100 Indigenous children may be buried at former residential school sites across the country.
"YRP encourages our community to make an effort to listen and learn about Indigenous history on the National Day of Truth and Reconciliation, so we can all move forward with a better, more compassionate understanding of Indigenous history."