On May 30th, 2021, many Canadians woke up to a new reality for them. The Canada they knew had changed.

What happened was the horrendous discovery of 215 unmarked graves at the Kamloops Residential School. This was not news to the Indigenous people. The long oral history by Indigenous people had told this story for years, and six years ago the TRC has reported on the existence of such unmarked graves of Indigenous children, and stated there were many more not yet discovered.

That day, what had been Indigenous history became Canadian history. The news of the findings changed Canada. Canadian flags flew at half-mast or were removed; statues of revered Canadian leaders were desecrated or taken down; shoes reminding all of us of the children were placed on the steps of legislatures; name changes of streets and buildings accelerated; cities cancelled or rethought Canada Day celebrations; public gatherings honouring the children were held across the country; four Catholic churches were burnt to the ground.

Here at Circles for Reconciliation, we wept. We initiated a minute of silence in all our circles;  we embarked on planting a Circle Bed of Orange Flowers. With the unanimous endorsement of our Board of Directors, we wrote to the Head of the Catholic Conference of Bishops demanding the church to invite the Pope to come to Canada to apologize, demanding the church to turn over all the documents that would facilitate identifying the children, and to take a much more active, positive, public engagement in reconciliation. Finally, we partnered with Reconciliation Thunder in establishing a #94 in 94 campaign, asking Canadians to read one of the Calls to Action each day, until September 30, 2021 Orange Shirt Day and a new National Day of Truth and Reconciliation.

At the same time, registrations at Circles for Reconciliation are increasing at an unparalleled rate. These new registrations are almost entirely from non-Indigenous people from all across Canada who want reconciliation, and are willing to commit their time to help bring it about. Although stretched beyond our human and financial resources we are committed to responding as quickly as we can.

Reconciliation begins with each and every one of us.