Justin Trudeau, chief of the Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc First Nation in British Columbia, apologized last Thursday for not attending the first National Day for Truth and Reconciliation celebrations.
A spokesman for the Prime Minister’s Office confirmed to the QMI agency. Mr Trudeau contacted community leader Rosanne Casimir on Saturday in a phone call.
The Prime Minister discussed “moving forward towards reconciliation and stated that he would visit the community soon,” his cabinet said.
Justin Trudeau spoke directly with Chef Casimir after failing to respond to two community invitations sent to him on the occasion of Memorial Day.
Earlier this year, the Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc community reported that about 200 unmarked graves had been found at the former Kamloops Residential School in British Columbia. In this sense, the first National Day for Truth and Reconciliation has a very special meaning in this society.
The Prime Minister was severely criticized last Thursday when he was shown global news footage at a beach house in Tofino, Vancouver, instead of attending public events. However, he attended a night party in Parliament Hill, Ottawa the day before.
National Truth and Reconciliation Day is the first federal holiday dedicated to the memory of victims and survivors of residential schools to commemorate their history.
The bill was proposed by the Trudeau government a year ago on the recommendation of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada. Approved by the House of Commons and the Senate last June, following the discovery of recent anonymous burials near the sites of past residential schools.