Canada marks its first ever National Day for Truth and Reconciliation on Thursday, Sept. 30, to confront the history of the harsh treatment of aboriginal people. Tens of thousands of Aboriginal children were forced to leave their families and died of abuse, hunger and disease in 140 government-run Indian residential schools between 1831 and 1998, and in recent years the bones of a growing number of Aboriginal children have been found at school sites.
Cities and towns such as Montreal held commemorative events on Thursday, including the “Children’s Lives are Lives” march (above). However, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was criticised for flying his wife and children to the West Bank for a holiday on that day and refusing to attend a ceremony organised by an aboriginal group. The Prime Minister’s Office responded that Trudeau had attended the commemorative ceremony (below) and spoke to former students of the boarding school in question in front of Parliament that day.