National Day For Truth & Reconciliation

September 30th, 2021 marks the first National Day for Truth and Reconciliation.

The day honours the lost children and Survivors of residential schools, their families and communities. Commemoration of our painful history and ongoing impacts of residential schools is a vital component of the reconciliation process.

Orange Shirt Day

Wear orange on September 30th. Orange Shirt Day is an Indigenous-led grassroots commemorative day that honours the children who survived Indian Residential Schools and remembers those who did not. This day relates to the experience of Phyllis Webstad, a Northern Secwpemc (Shuswap) from the Stswecem’c Xgat’tem First Nation, on her first day of school, where she arrived dressed in a new orange shirt. This shirt was taken from her, and it is now a symbol of the stripping away of culture, freedom and self-esteem experienced by Indigenous children over generations. We encourage you and your family to wear orange to help raise awareness.

You can purchase your orange shirt and support Atlohsa Family Healing Services by clicking the link below.

The 94 Calls to Action

The Truth and Reconciliation Commission ran from 2008 to 2015 and provided those directly or indirectly affected by the legacy of the Indian Residential Schools policy with an opportunity to share their stories and experiences. The Commission released its final report detailing 94 calls to action. The National Day for Truth and Reconciliation is a direct response to Call to Action 80, which called for a federal statutory day of commemoration.

These calls to action include topics such as:

  • Child Welfare
  • Education
  • Language & Culture
  • Health
  • Justice
  • Reconciliation
  • Settlement Agreement Parties and the United Nations Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous People
  • Equity for Aboriginal People in the Legal System
  • National Council for Reconciliation
  • Professional Development & Training for Public Servants
  • Church Apologizes & Reconciliation
  • Education for Reconciliation
  • Youth Programs
  • Museums & Archives
  • Missing Children & Burial Information
  • National Centre for Truth & Reconciliation
  • Commemoration
  • Media & Reconciliation
  • Sports & Reconciliation
  • Business & Reconciliation
  • Newcomers to Canada

Recommended Readings

Fatty Legs by Christy Jordan Fenton (a memoir)

The moving memoir of an Inuit girl who emerges from a residential school with her spirit intact. Eight-year-old Margaret Pokiak has set her sights on learning to read, even though it means leaving her village in the high Arctic.

At school Margaret soon encounters the Raven, a black-cloaked nun with a hooked nose and bony fingers that resemble claws. She immediately dislikes the strong-willed young Margaret. Intending to humiliate her, the heartless Raven gives gray stockings to all the girls — all except Margaret, who gets red ones. In an instant Margaret is the laughingstock of the entire school.

In the face of such cruelty, Margaret refuses to be intimidated and bravely gets rid of the stockings. Although a sympathetic nun stands up for Margaret, in the end it is this brave young girl who gives the Raven a lesson in the power of human dignity.

Sweetest Kulu by Celina Kalluk (a children’s book)

This beautiful bedtime poem, written by acclaimed Inuit throat singer Celina Kalluk, describes the gifts given to a newborn baby by all the animals of the Arctic.

Lyrically and tenderly told by a mother speaking to her own little Kulu; an Inuktitut term of endearment often bestowed upon babies and young children, this visually stunning book is infused with the traditional Inuit values of love and respect for the land and its animal inhabitants.

For more great recommendations, visit the #IndigenousReads reading list.

Get Involved With These Local Events

A number of great events are taking place in the communities in which we operate. Take some time to explore, learn, and get involved!

September 21st – October 1st
Western University: Observing the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation – London

September 23rd – October 3rd
Learning About Truth & Reconciliation – Mississauga

September 26th – October 2nd
The Week of Truth and Reconciliation – London

Thursday, September 30th
IISAN’s March for Truth & Reconciliation – Ingersoll
Virtual Storytime: The Orange Shirt Story – Guelph
National Day for Truth & Reconciliation/Orange Shirt Day – Brantford
N’Amerind Friendship Centre 5K Fundraiser – London
Nibi Walk (N’Amerind Friendship Cenre) – London
Turtle Island Healing Walk – London

Begin Your Learning Journey

Government of Canada
Begin your learning journey here by exploring the rich and diverse cultures, voices, experiences and histories of First Nations, Inuit and Métis Peoples.
Read – Discover e-books and resources that share the culture, histories, lands and languages of Indigenous communities.
Listen – Experience descriptive storytelling through podcasts and audio clips.
Watch – See intriguing visuals and movies from Indigenous artists.
Try – Try out crafts and multimedia activities for all ages.

Pure of Heart
An innovative educational tool kit designed to engage participants in a deeper exploration of Indigenous traditions in Canada and the history of Indian residential schools. It is a journey for understanding through the heart and spirit, as well as facts and dates. More information on Project of Heart can be found here.

Letters to Dr. Bryce
Even young learners can participate through the creation of a Heart Garden or by helping to send a letter to Dr. P.H. Bryce about why reconciliation matters, what they have learned about residential schools, and what their personal commitment to Truth and Reconciliation will look like. More information can be found here.

Exploring Resources

Medicine Wheel Education and Orange Shirt Day books and lesson plans, including audio format and French language options, that can be found here.

First Nations Child and Family Caring Society of Canada: Child-friendly resources teaching the Truth and Reconciliation Commission Calls to Action, as well as Shannen’s Dream that addresses the continued harm being done to First Nations, Métis and Inuit children through lack of funding for education. Includes videos, books, and printables in English and French. Learn more here.

Natural Curiosity Ed: Resource and events focused on environmental inquiry and Indigenous perspectives, with specific focus this month on Truth and Reconciliation. Learn more here.