September 30th - National Day for Truth and Reconciliation
September 30th, 2021 marks the inaugural National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, a national statutory holiday in response to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada’s Call to Action 80, which calls the federal government to work in collaboration with Indigenous leaders to establish a statutory holiday 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”.
The significance of September 30th remains. Phyllis Webstad from the Stswecem’c Xgat’tem First Nation attended her first day at St. Joseph’s Residential School in Williams Lake, BC where her brand new orange shirt was stripped from her and never returned. Phyllis inspired the Orange Shirt Day movement on September 30th that became widely known as a day to raise awareness and start important conversations about Residential Schools. It became a day to remember that every child matters. Learn more about Phyllis’s story and Orange shirt day.
Truth and Reconciliation Week is a 5-day national event that will continue the conversations from Every Child Matters. Important conversations including the truths of the Indigenous treaties, First Nation, Métis and Inuit land claims, and the residential schools system. The National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation are hosting week-long virtual events that will provide historical workshops, exclusive video content, and activities for students — all supported by artistic and cultural performances by First Nations, Métis, and Inuit artists. Read more.
Reconciliation through STEM Education explores the role STEM education can have in reconciliation through acknowledgement and incorporation of Indigenous perspectives. This article is part of a partnership between Let’s Talk Science, the Royal Society of Canada and The Globe and Mail. This contribution was made by Erin Kelly, a Let’s Talk Science staff member from Bkejwanong Territory, Walpole Island First Nation.
The Gord Downie & Chanie Wenjack Fund provides access to education on the true history of Indigenous peoples in Canada and the true history and legacy of residential schools, encouraging reconciliation along the way. They are hosting a conversation titled The Inaugural National Day for Truth and Reconciliation Exploring what this means for reconciliation in Canada which can be viewed on September 30th. The Downie Wenjack Foundation has a list of recommended resources for continuing your learning journey.
On Thursday, September 30th, take time to reflect on the history of residential schools and the history of Indigenous peoples in Canada. Explore the resources provided in this article or others you may come across and engage in reconciliation.