Honouring the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation
Sep 29, 2021
Since 2013, September 30 has been observed as a day of remembrance for Indigenous people. Originally known as Orange Shirt Day, this day was created to educate Canadians about the residential school system and its ongoing impact on Indigenous peoples and communities. With each passing year, this movement grows with more and more schools and organizations taking part in commemorative activities.
This year, the government of Canada designated September 30 as a National Day for Truth and Reconciliation – a federal statutory holiday created in response to the saddening discovery of unmarked graves at residential school sites across the country, and in acknowledgement of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s 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.”
The intent of the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation is to continue, but not replace, the work started by Orange Shirt Day, and to further promote awareness, education, and healing by ensuring this day is officially commemorated each year.
On September 30, Hatfield has chosen to provide a day off to give our staff time and space to properly observe the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation. We will be using this day to reflect on the legacy of the residential school system, wear our orange shirts in support, and continue to educate ourselves and our families. It is important to us that we not only support Indigenous people on this day, but throughout the year, by learning more about Indigenous history and culture, and sharing in the work of educating ourselves and others. If you are interested in doing the same, we’ve gathered some excellent educational resources below, including suggested readings and videos that may help you listen, learn and reflect:
Special programming for the National Day of Truth and Reconciliation
- The Centre for National Truth and Reconciliation (CNTR) has curated a full week (September 27 to October 1) of Knowledge Keeper presentations. Registration is free (on Eventbrite), and you can check out the full schedule here.
- Learn the Secwepemc Honour Song and join Tk’emlúps te Secwepemc First Nation in Drum for the Children at 2:15 PT.
- APTN, the first National Indigenous broadcaster in the world, will be hosting a full day of special programming for the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, including:
- A screening of “We Were Children”, a 2012 film documenting the profound impact of the Canadian government’s residential school system through the eyes of two children who were forced to face hardships well beyond their years.
- A national broadcast, “National Day for Truth and Reconciliation”, streamed live on APTN, CBC and CBC Gem at 7 PM (PT) / 8 PM (MT).
- Reports and Calls to Action of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.
- United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.
- “The Inconvenient Indian” by Indigenous author Thomas King.
- “Beyond the Orange Shirt” by Phyllis Webstad, founder of the Orange Shirt Day movement.
Other ideas for action
- Sign up for the University of Alberta’s free course on Indigenous Canada.
- Learn about the land you inhabit and who calls it home at https://native-land.ca/.
- Be an Indigenous Ally – learn about the impact of residential schools and amplify Indigenous voices by sharing what you’ve learned with your friends and family.
- Need more ideas of positive actions you can take? This list of 150 acts of reconciliation may provide some inspiration.