Canada’s National Day for Truth and Reconciliation

Sep 2021 | Other

September 30, 2021 marks Canada’s new statutory holiday, the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation.

The federal government created this day in response to Call To Action #80 from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s report, which called on them to, in collaboration with Aboriginal peoples:

“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.”

This day is an opportunity to honour the lost children and Survivors of residential schools, along with their families and communities. It’s an opportunity for all Canadians to recognize and commemorate the tragic and painful history of residential schools. Understanding the impact of residential schools is vital to reconciliation.

Truth and Reconciliation

Between 1831 and 1998 there were 140 federally-run Indian Residential Schools in Canada. The last one closed only 23 years ago.

Because of the demands by residential school survivors for accountability, recognition and reparations, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada (TRC) was established by the Federal Government of Canada as part of a legal settlement.

The TRC’s mandate was to inform all Canadians about what happened in residential schools. The TRC documented the truth of survivors and anyone personally affected by the residential school experience. From their work, 94 Calls to Action were made to redress the legacy of residential schools and to advance the process of Canadian reconciliation.

Canada’s National Day for Truth and Reconciliation is in response to Call to Action #80, which asks Canada 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.”

Read the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada’s 94 Calls to Action

Orange Shirt Day

Orange Shirt Day is also held on September 30th to invite a global conversation about residential schools. This date was selected because it’s the time of year in which children were pulled from their homes and Indigenous cultures, and taken to residential schools. It’s an opportunity to create meaningful discussion about the ongoing effects, impacts and trauma left behind by residential schools.

Orange Shirt Day is a moment for all Canadians, including First Nations, governments, schools and communities to come together in the spirit of reconciliation. For survivors, it’s a day to be reaffirmed that they matter, because Every Child Matters, even if they are now an adult. For non-Indigenous Canadians, it’s a day to listen, learn, mourn alongside our Indigenous neighbours, and recommit to our path of reconciliation. 

How to participate:

Wear an orange t-shirt on September 30th as a sign of your support and respect.

If you would like to plan an event in your community, access learning guides or make a donation, visit the Orange Shirt Day organization’s website for resources and information.

Learn More About Orange Shirt Day

September 30th Events

Honouring our Children on National Day for Truth and Reconciliation 

Snuneymuxw First Nation, City of Nanaimo, and Nanaimo Ladysmith Public Schools, are hosting an event on September 30, 2021 to bring awareness to honour and remember residential school survivors and their families and consider ways in which we can continue to reflect on the truth and advance reconciliation in our community. The event will include:

September 30, 2021

10:00am – 2:00pm

Maffeo Sutton Park / Swy-a-Lana in Nanaimo

Event Information

Secwepemc Honour Song

The Tk’emlúps te Secwepemc Nation is inviting people to mark Canada’s first National Day for Truth and Reconciliation by learning the Secwepemc Honour Song to drum and sing at 2:15 p.m. pacific time on Sept. 30th.

After a global outpouring of support for the missing children of the Kamloops Indian Residential School, Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc is offering a way for people to connect, support and feel grounded in the importance of the day. All are invited to drum for the healing of Indian Residential Schools Survivors who carried the burden of knowing where the children were buried, and to drum for the healing of the families and communities whose children did not come home.

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