National Truth and Reconciliation Day serves as a beacon of remembrance and healing, reminding us of the haunting past experienced by indigenous communities. Meghan Cote, Cultural Resources Coordinator at Barrie Native Friendship Centre, emphasizes the significance of this day in addressing the scars of intergenerational trauma. “We need to take action as a community to work together to heal and to work together for our children to have a bright future,“ she said. “They don’t have to have that same intergenerational effects that we’re dealing with today.“
Only then can the community, indigenous and non-indigenous alike, come together, learn, and pave the path to reconciliation. The goal is to educate on the true Canadian history, including the ongoing effects of genocide and its aftermath on indigenous communities.
Barrie’s recognition of this vital cause is evident. Cote thanked Barrie Mayor Alex Nuttall for allocating time for the Barrie Native Friendship Centre’s truth and reconciliation event. Relationships with Barrie police services have been supportive, fostering bridges between indigenous communities and their non-indigenous allies. This community connection is heartening, with many non-indigenous individuals taking proactive steps to learn and make impactful differences.
Addressing contemporary challenges, Cote highlighted the disheartening statistics of indigenous children in foster care and their overrepresentation in Canadian jails. The solution, she believes, lies in healing, community education, and an inclusive approach to decisions at all levels of government.
“We, indigenous people work as a circle. And it’s important for them to join those circles to be able to learn and heal along with us and that will make a better stronger community,“ she said.