As Canadians from coast to coast to coast take time to grapple with their nation's past, Queen Elizabeth II offers her support.

On Thursday, the queen penned a letter from Balmoral Castle stating that she would be participating in Truth and Reconciliation Day.

"I join with all Canadians on this first National Day for Truth and Reconciliation," the letter begins, "to reflect on the painful history that Indigenous people endured in residential schools in Canada, and on the work that remains to heal and to continue to build an inclusive society."

The federal holiday was created in a bill passed by Parliament in June, and is meant to honour the Indigenous children, families, and communities impacted by Canada's residential school system. It gives Canadians a chance to reflect on the past and look ahead to a future wherein discrimination and injustice do not exist.

Canada's residential school system was operated by both church and state, and existed from the 1880s until the late 20th century. According to Indigenous Foundations at the University of British Columbia, the system "forcibly separated children from their families for extended periods of time and forbade them to acknowledge their Indigenous heritage and culture or to speak their own languages."

Both the Canadian government and the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops have recently apologized for their role in the atrocities committed against Indigenous peoples across the country.