The mayor of Calgary said the city’s Canada Day fireworks will take place, but not as a celebration. Mayor Naheed Nenshi told council on Monday that a minute’s silence would interrupt the soundtrack of local music accompanying the fireworks, which aired on CJSW on July 1, to honor child victims of the residential school system.
Nenshi said he spoke to native elders about the decision.
“Their advice they gave us was not to move forward with division and anger but, in fact, to be able to move forward together as a nation and to use this Canada Day not as something to undo, but as something to really build on, to use it as an opportunity to talk about indigenous history… and to help people engage in reconciliation, ”the mayor said .
A number of communities across the country have opted for a day of reflection or mourning to mark the annual holiday this year, following the discovery of what are believed to be hundreds of anonymous graves of children at the sites. former residential schools in British Columbia and Saskatchewan. .
St. Albert has canceled its fireworks display. The city said the decision was made out of empathy for community members facing the intergenerational trauma of the residential school system.
The city later added that it had not been asked to cancel or reschedule fireworks or other Canada Day activities, but had scaled back its plans due to uncertain measures to public health.
The Edmonton fireworks display also continues.
“I hope this Canada Day marks a turning point, honoring all that we have been through, while seeking a better future for all of us,” Nenshi said in a statement last week.
Canada Day is also the date when most public health restrictions will be lifted in Alberta.
Support is available for anyone affected by the lingering effects of residential schools and for those triggered by the latest reports.
A national residential school crisis line has been established to provide support to residential school survivors and others affected. People can access emotional and crisis referral services by calling the 24-hour national crisis line: 1-866-925-4419.