Eddy Charlie speaks about National Day for Truth and Reconciliation

Story originally from Chek News

A federal bill establishing Sept. 30 as national truth and reconciliation day —  an annual statutory holiday commemorating the horrific legacy of Canada’s residential school system — received royal assent earlier this week.

It comes following the discovery of 215 Indigenous children buried at a former Kamloops residential school last month.

For Eddie Charlie, a residential school survivor and Vancouver Island resident, it’s something he’s wanted to see happen for years.

“I had a vision about creating a law that would honour all residential school survivors and I wanted to make it a national holiday,” said Charlie, who pushed for the creation of a day for truth and reconciliation back in 2017 after years of internalizing his own past.

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When Charlie was four he was taken from his home and brought to Kuper Island residential school just outside Chemainus, where he says students were stripped of their culture, beaten and raped repeatedly.

“For me, residential school was bad not only because they starved us but because they beat us for speaking our language and practicing and our culture. They separated us from our family, and we forgot how to function as a family. We forgot how to love and care for our own brothers, our own sisters, and distress grew there,” he recalled.

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