Canada Post unveiled four new stamps that shed some light on the truth and legacy of residential schools, whose impacts are still felt by Indigenous Peoples today.
The stamps – released on September 28 in connection with the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation on September 30 – are the second issue in the annual series for the future of truth and reconciliation.
Featuring stark archival images of residential schools in different parts of Canada, the stamps serve as a reminder of the fear, loneliness, pain and shame experienced by generations of Indigenous children in these federally and church-created institutions. According to a press release from Canada Post, the stamp issue serves as a vehicle for truth about Canada’s residential school system to help support the process of reconciliation and, ultimately, healing.
The stamps were unveiled on Sept. 27 at the Woodland Cultural Centre in Brantford, Ont. The centre was established in 1972 after the closing of the Mohawk Institute Residential School; a photograph of the Mohawk Institute is featured on the Official First Day Cover.
Canada Post said it worked closely with the Survivors Circle of the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation this year on its annual Truth and Reconciliation stamp issue. The Survivors Circle stressed the necessity to address the truth before Canadians can collectively work toward reconciliation.
The schools featured on the stamps are Kamloops Residential School, Kamloops, B.C.; Île-à-la-Crosse Residential School, Île-à-la-Crosse, Sask.; Sept-Îles Residential School, Sept-Îles, Que; and Grollier Hall, Inuvik, NWT.
The stamp issue includes an Official First Day Cover (OFDC) and a booklet of eight Permanent domestic rate stamps. The front of the OFDC features the Mohawk Institute, in Brantford – the first school in Canada’s residential school system. The cancel location is Ottawa, the seat of the federal government, where policies of assimilation were created that forcibly separated Indigenous children from their families and communities.
The National Indian Residential School Crisis Line provides 24-hour support to former residential school students and their families. If you require support, please call 1‑866‑925‑4419.