"Don't make this the last thing you do for those children who never came home."
Despite the fact that Quebec did not recognize Canada's National Day for Truth and Reconciliation as a statutory holiday, the streets of Montreal were filled with Indigenous leaders, activists and allies on September 30. They came together to share an important message: "Every Child Matters."
The event began at Place du Canada at around 1 p.m. on Thursday, followed by a march to Place des Arts.
"So many have had very strong feelings in response to the ever-increasing number of mass graves uncovered near former residential school sites and there is a desire to channel these feelings in productive ways," the Facebook event reads.
"As such, we want to encourage everyone to approach September 30 as a day of action. Reflection is not enough - participating, listening and supporting Indigenous people, who are still reeling from the multi-generational trauma of residential school, is a proactive stance to commemorate this day."
Many people at the march wore orange shirts, a symbol of truth and reconciliation. Orange Shirt Day, a grassroots movement that commemorated residential schools and honoured their survivors, was the precursor to the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, and some people still refer to it by its original name.
People also drummed and chanted, "No pride in genocide" as well as "Land back."
"Joyce Echaquan lost her life because somebody thought she didn't matter," said Ellen Gabriel, a Mohawk activist and artist from Kanehsatà:ke Nation, addressing the crowd. "Don't make this the last demonstration you come to. Don't make this the last thing you do for those children who never came home."
You can watch the Facebook live from the event, which includes speeches by members of the Indigenous community, on the APNQL - AFNQL Facebook page.
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