The schools in the Waterloo Catholic District School Board are situated on the Haldimand tract of land that is the traditional home of the Haudenosaunee, Anishinaabe and Neutral People. We acknowledge the enduring presence and deep traditional knowledge, laws and philosophies of the Indigenous Peoples with whom we share this land today. We seek a new relationship with the Original People of this land, one based on honour and deep respect. We are grateful for the opportunity to learn here and reaffirm our collective commitment to make the promise and the challenge of Truth and Reconciliation real in our community.
The Truth and Reconciliation Commission ran from 2008 to 2015 and provided those directly or indirectly affected by the legacy of the Indian Residential Schools policy with an opportunity to share their stories and experiences. The National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation has become the permanent archive for the statements, documents and other materials the Commission gathered, and its library and collections are the foundation for ongoing learning and research.
The Commission released its final report detailing 94 calls to action. The National Day for Truth and Reconciliation is a direct response to Call to Action 80, which called for a federal statutory day of commemoration
A Prayer for those that Never Came Home
Great and Heavenly Spirit,
God of compassion, healing and comfort,
We lift up in prayer the sacred lives of the children, some now known to us, all known to you, who died in residential schools.
We lift up in prayer the sacred lives of the children who went missing from these schools and whose fates are unknown to those who held them most dear.
We grieve the loss of so many thousands of these little ones, and we grieve especially their loss so far away from home.
We grieve the loss of youth with so much potential. These were children of this place, children of our land. The loss of their giftedness is our collective loss.
We lament how long their families have had to live with unanswered questions. Hear our prayers:
for those who were not informed of their children’s deaths at all, or on a timely basis; for those who were not told of where their daughters and sons had been buried;
for those who have long hoped that a child who went missing somehow survived and had a good life—even as they may have also feared the worst.
We lament our complicity in the loss of these children. As members of a church which ran residential schools, we seek your help as we look to redress the many ways in which our church failed these Indigenous children, their families, and their communities. We pray that your reconciling love will teach us how to create true bonds of community and understanding as Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples today.
We lift up with gratitude the efforts of all those who are seeking to honour the lives of the children who died, as well as the children whose fates are unknown, through ongoing research and acts of remembrance.
We ask for your continued guidance of them as they work to uncover the stories of the lost. We understand how precious this information is, and how vital it is to the healing of so many families and communities.
Bless those who are preparing to honour the children with sacred ceremonies and those who work to protect burial sites, in keeping with the traditions of Indigenous peoples across this land.
We pray for the families of these children and for all who loved them. Envelop them in the warmth of your infinite care and give them peace.
Inspire all of us with energy, wisdom, and commitment to the loving pursuit of the truth which will heal all of us in our brokenness and lead to reconciliation with our neighbours across this land.