The federal government has recently announced it plans to create a new statutory holiday to commemorate the legacy of residential schools in Canada.

Chief of Ndilo, Ernest Betsina says he hopes the new holiday is more than just a day off work.

“I’m hoping that they’ll educate and inform Canadians of the sad era of residential schools,” Chief Betsina says.

“For me, it’s not only to take a holiday, but I want Canadians to know about the history of the residential school. So I’m hoping there’ll be a big campaign informing Canadians of the legacy of residential school.”

He says this holiday could be a positive thing; if that education comes with it.

“I’m hoping the federal government will have a major campaign educating Canadians at large,” he says.

I’m happy and I’m glad to know that they are teaching this in the schools, a least in the Northwest Territories, so I’m hoping they’ll teach it throughout Canada too.”

The creation of the holiday is something the Trudeau government pledged to do while accepting the recommendations made in the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s (TRC) final report back in 2015.

“We call upon the federal government, in collaboration with Aboriginal peoples, to establish, as a statutory holiday, a National Day for Truth and Reconciliation to honour Survivors, their families, and communities, and ensure that public commemoration of the history and legacy of residential schools remains a vital component of the reconciliation process,” the TRC report states.

The government has yet to announce the date of the new holiday.