Prime Minister Justin Trudeau admitted to making a mistake by travelling on Canada's first day of Truth and Reconciliation, but falling short of offering an apology to all Canadians.
"Before I take questions from the media," said Trudeau, "I want to address the issue of last week. Travelling on September 30 was a mistake, and I regret it. The first National Day of Truth and Reconciliation was a time for Indigenous people and non-Indigenous people alike to reflect and connect, to think about the past, but also, focus on the future.
"I want to thank Chief Casimir of Kamloops for the conversation we had over the weekend, for which I apologized for not being there with her and her community, for this important day, and I committed to going to visit the Kamloops Tk‘emlúpsemc community in the coming weeks.
"There's a lot for US ALL to do, and I'm committed to doing it," said Trudeau.
Trudeau said that in the coming weeks, he would be visiting the Kamloops community, saying that he will continue to do "even more" on the path to reconciliation.
"I'm committed to doing it," said Trudeau.
Trudeau spent the day surfing and staying in a multimillion-dollar beachfront rental in Tofino, British Columbia on the holiday.
Canada's first National Day for Truth and Reconciliation was enacted as a federal statutory holiday with unanimous party vote in the House of Commons, based on a recommendation of the 2015 Truth and Reconciliation Commission 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."
The Union of British Columbia Indian Chiefs said in a statement Thursday that Trudeau's decision not to attend the event was an "arrogant dismissal" and a
"slap in the face" to residential-school survivors.