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Chief Keith Knott speaks ahead of the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation

DAN CEARNS The Standard KAWARTHA LAKES: Curve Lake First Nation Chief Keith Knott spoke to a number of orange-clad attendees of a flag raising outside of Kawartha Lakes City Hall in Lindsay on Tuesday, September 26th. The flag-raising marked the annual National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, which was held on Saturday, September 30th.

“Being amongst you today and seeing all of the orange sweaters, it’s really uplifting. Finally, we’re able to work together,” Chief Knott said.

However, he stated the ongoing legacy of Residential Schools continues to have an impact on First Nations communities.

“It was a struggle for the little wee kids, [with] what they had to go through. We can stand here and blame and blame and blame all we want. But the scars are still there from the wounds inflicted on our children. It makes it that much harder when the scar is still visible.”

He then provided some context on the issue.

“What would a community feel like today if an Indian Agent came in, in a vehicle and scooped up your children and took them somewhere [and] the parents didn’t know where they were? This is what we have gone through as a people.”

Looking forward regarding how communities can help First Nations groups, Chief Knott said the best way is “by collectively working together in what they call reconciliation” and “try[ing] to lift each other up.”

But he noted it would take a number of generations before the scars from the Residential School system truly disappear completely. Events like this flag-raising are a positive step in the right direction, in Chief Knott’s mind.

“A community has come together as a reminder of the first peoples of this land and what they endured,” he said. “It’s really encouraging that you took the initiative and the spirit to come out and gather here this morning.”

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