National Day for Truth and Reconciliation

National Day for Truth and Reconciliation: Ways to be educated and participate

This Thursday, September 30th, marks the first National Day for Truth and Reconciliation in Canada — a day which has also been commemorated as Orange Shirt Day since 2013. The new Canadian federal holiday pays honors the survivors of residential schools and their families and communities. Action 80 of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s (TRC) 94 Calls to Action called for this day to “ensure that public commemoration of the history and legacy of residential schools remains a vital component of the reconciliation process.” 

Things you can do:

Buy and wear an orange shirt

The Orange Shirt Society encourages people to wear orange on Sept. 30, the day observed as Orange Shirt Day, to both honor and raise awareness about the tragic history of residential schools. The day is inspired by the experience of Phyllis (Jack) Webstad, a Stswecem’c Xgat’tem First Nation elder in Williams Lake, B.C., whose orange shirt, given to her by her grandmother, was taken away from her on her first day at a residential school when she was six. –

To watch/listen to:

CBC Arts has created a list of more of CBC’s content for the day, which you can see here. –

The APTN Lumi app — which features a large selection of Indigenous films, TV shows, and documentaries in more than 20 Indigenous languages, as well as English and French — has curated a collection centered around the day. –

The National Film Board of Canada has a selection of short and feature films about the impact of residential schools in this country, and most are free to watch. –

To read:

Earlier this year, Cree author David A. Robertson created a list of 48 books by Indigenous writers you can read to better understand residential schools. “It can no longer be disputed that the residential school system was genocide. And the question now is: what are you going to do about it?” he wrote. “I think the answer starts with stories. Stories have been, and always will be, the best way to educate ourselves about the truth.” –

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