TORONTO (AP) – The Canadian government announced Friday that it will once again hoist the national flag of Canada in all federal buildings, ending a nearly six-month period in which the banner was raised in mid -Body in honor of the children whose remains were buried at Canada’s Residential Schools.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau called for the flags to fly at half mast in May after more than 200 children’s remains were found buried in what was once Canada’s largest Indigenous residential school.
Sunday’s sunset flag raising will take place just before Canada honors veterans on Remembrance Day, November 11.
“As the supreme symbol of our nation, flying the national flag of Canada at half mast for the longest period in Canadian history is a testament to the tremendous sense of loss,” said the Department of Canadian Heritage in a press release.
“Raising the flag at this time will allow us to honor and remember important moments in Canadian history. Numerous discussions have taken place between Indigenous partners and the Government of Canada for advice on how best to honor the victims of residential schools and ensure that they are never forgotten in the future.
From the 19th century to the 1970s, more than 150,000 First Nations children had to attend publicly funded Christian schools as part of a program to assimilate them into Canadian society. They were forced to convert to Christianity and were not allowed to speak their mother tongue. Many have been beaten and verbally assaulted, and up to 6,000 are believed to have died.
The Canadian government apologized to Parliament in 2008 and admitted that physical and sexual abuse in schools was rampant. Many students remembered being beaten because they spoke their mother tongue. They also lost contact with their parents and their customs.
Perry Bellegarde, who was Chief of the Assembly of First Nations in May, said that while it was nothing new to find graves in old residential schools, it was still overwhelming to see this chapter’s wounds on display. .