Tḱemlúps te Secwépemc First Nation says Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s lack of response to attend an event in Kamloops, B.C., was an “extra disgrace” to honor the first National Day for Truth and Reconciliation.
“Reconciliation begins with action. Real action and change is needed that supports healing, the revitalization of our language, culture, traditions and ways of knowing,” First Nation said in a statement.
“We are not interested in apologies that do not lead to institutional and widespread change.”
On Wednesday, Trudeau said his decision to celebrate the holiday in Tofino, B.C. on the first National Day for Truth and Reconciliation was a mistake and said he apologized directly to the indigenous community, whose invitations he ignored that day Was.
“Travelling on September 30 was a mistake, and I regret it. This first National Day of Truth and Reconciliation is an opportunity for Indigenous peoples and non-Indigenous peoples alike to reflect and connect, think about the past, and focus on the future. It was time to focus,” he said.
“I want to thank Tk’emlúps Chief Casimir for the conversation I had over the weekend in which I apologized for not being with him and his community for this important day.”
In a statement on Thursday, the Temlaps Te Sekwepemak First Nation said they call on Trudeau to come to Kamloops and see their collective history and meet survivors of residential schools.
“The focus of this visit should be on real issues of reconciliation and not a media event to compensate for their lack of participation on the National Day of Truth and Reconciliation,” he said.
The nation said it has chosen Trudeau’s date as one of the other offers of office and they look forward to welcoming him for a visit later this month.
“The Canadian government was the entity that created the residential school institution, and it is now the leadership of the Canadian government that needs to work with Indigenous peoples to find a way to truth and reconciliation,” Temlaps Te Sekwepemak added in the statement.
“With the acceptance of our truths comes responsibility – both to the caretaker communities and to the Government of Canada.”
Tḱemlúps te Secwépemc First Nation said it needed funding for a treatment center in the community to support survivors and intergenerational survivors. He said he would like to see a commitment by the Canadian government to fund this treatment center so that “concrete progress toward meaningful reconciliation can be made.”
The Indian Residential School Crisis Line (1-866-925-4419) is available 24 hours a day for anyone experiencing pain or distress as a result of their residential school experience.