September 29, 2021

September 30th, National Day for Truth and Reconciliation

We wish to respectfully acknowledge the traditional unceded territory of the Anishnaabeg people, including all of the Algonkian and Ojibwe Nations. We acknowledge the many First Nations, Métis and Inuit who have lived in and cared for these lands for generations, and we are grateful for the traditional Knowledge Keepers and Elders who are still with us today and those who have gone before us. We make this acknowledgement as an act of reconciliation and gratitude to those whose territory we now reside in.

September 30th has been designated the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, in response to one of the calls-to-action listed in the Truth and Reconciliation Commission report:

Call to Action #80 – We call upon the federal government, in collaboration with Aboriginal peoples, to establish, as a statutory holiday, a National Day for Truth and Reconciliation 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 process.

Since 2019, September 30th has also been proclaimed Orange Shirt Day, a day to honour residential school survivors, to acknowledge the injustices that Canadian First Nations peoples have suffered, and to keep the discussion going. It is our hope that by examining our history openly and honestly, Canadians can begin to build cultural bridges that will allow our nation to heal and move forward together.

Photo credit: CBC News

In the spirit of this day, we offer the following as education pieces that can help us all to embody the concepts of Truth and Reconciliation:

The National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation provides access to various reports, including the TRC reports, and other up-to-date information.

Phyllis Webstad, on whose experience the Orange Shirt Day was created, shares her story.

The Woodland Cultural Centre offers a Residential School Virtual Tour of the Mohawk Institute Residential School. The tour is by donation, as part of a fundraiser for their Save the Evidence campaign.

Indigenous media maker and environmental educator, Nikki Sanchez’s powerful Ted Talk called Decolonization Is For Everyone, offers information and calls to action.

Simon Fraser University has a helpful guide, Think Before You Appropriate, that clarifies the concept of cultural appropriation by offering guidance on recognizing and avoiding misappropriation while encouraging creative collaboration and ethical treatment of Indigenous cultural heritage.