Opening remarks from Mayor Erwin Butikofer of the Municipality of Neebing during Thursday’s Community Picnic at the Municipal Office held to acknowledge the first National Day for Truth and Reconciliation:

“I would like to begin by acknowledging that we are in the Robinson-Superior Treaty territory and that the land on which we are gathering is the traditional territory of the Anishinaabeg, the Metis and Fort William First Nation.

Today marks the first National Day for Truth and Reconciliation. The day honours the lost children and survivors of residential schools, their families and communities. It is important to remember how important family is. When the children were taken from their homes it had a huge impact on communities. Parents and grandparents were sad and lonely without any children around. The whole circle of life was broken. This destruction of family, culture and community went on for 150 years, generation after generation. We are not here to lay blame or guilt but to move ahead on truth and reconciliation. We need to learn and we need to listen.”

Cindy Crowe, Elder, Lodge Keeper from Blue Sky Community Healing Centre conducted the opening smudging ceremony, and was available to answer any questions from the community.

Also joining Mayor Butikofer for opening remarks was MPP Judith Monteith-Farrell for Thunder Bay-Atikokan.