Statement of Solidarity: National Day for Truth and Reconciliation

Statement of Solidarity: National Day for Truth and Reconciliation


September 30, 2021, Xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam), Sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish) and səlilwətaɬ (Tsleil-Waututh) Territories / Vancouver, BC – CPAWS-BC stands in solidarity with Indigenous Peoples as we observe the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation. We acknowledge the role of colonization on Indigenous Peoples, and we in the conservation movement remain committed to working actively towards healing and reconciliation.

We honour thousands of Indigenous children lost to residential schools by also recognizing September 30 as Orange Shirt Day. We stand with the communities and Nations grieving the confirmation of their long-held knowledge:  215 children at Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc, 104 in Sioux Valley Dakota territory near Brandon, 751 on Cowessess First Nation, 160 in Hul’qumi’num Territory on Vancouver Island and 182 in Ktunaxa Territory. The National Centre For Truth and Reconciliation confirms the identities of 4,117 children. And we sadly acknowledge there will be more gravesites found.

The legacy of residential schools and colonialism continues to negatively impact Indigenous Peoples today. CPAWS-BC has a responsibility as a leader in the conservation movement to take steps that can begin to heal relationships between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples and the lands and waters where we work. 

We recognize that reconciliation and decolonization is an ongoing process that requires all of us to be actively involved and responsible as our collective learning evolves. CPAWS-BC makes a firm commitment to uphold decolonization as a cornerstone in our conservation work. 

As we work toward the protection of diverse ecosystems, CPAWS-BC will do so in the spirit of decolonization , recognizing the essential leadership of the Indigenous stewards who have cared for these lands and waters since time immemorial. We are committed to deepening our relationships with Indigenous partners and we recognize that it is our responsibility to support Indigenous Peoples to safeguard their land and water.  

As a team, we are  advancing awareness, knowledge, and capacity on our staff and board by providing cultural competency learning opportunities and workshops with Indigenous speakers, Elders, storytellers, and facilitators. 

We encourage all Canadians to read the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada (TRC) Calls to Action. You can further support Indigenous communities today by participating in virtual events such as the Tk’emlups te Secwepemc’s Drum for the Children event or the Orange Shirt Day event in Vancouver. If you can, please consider donating to the Indian Residential School Survivors Society, the Orange Shirt Society, or One Day’s Pay


Kevin Barlow (Mi’kmaw)
Interim Executive Director, CPAWS-BC

For more information please contact:

Rippon Madtha
Communications Manager
604-685-7445 (x 23)