What is the National Truth & Reconciliation Day?
This Thursday marks the inaugural National Day of Truth and Reconciliation to remember, learn, reflect, and act on mandates put forward in the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Calls-to-Action. It is a day to honour the Indigenous victims and survivors of the residential school system, as well as to reflect on the lasting negative impacts these schools have had on Indigenous communities across the nation.
Over the past decade, September 30th has been known to Canadians as Orange Shirt Day. Inspired by Phyllis Webstad’s residential school story of having her beloved orange shirt taken away, many Canadians honour other residential school victims by wearing orange and posting pictures on social media with the hashtag #allchildrenmatter. This event has received international attention and has opened up a dialogue about residential schools and the legacy they’ve had within Canada.
Even though Province of Alberta hasn't recognized this holiday, the City of Calgary is observing this holiday to encourage Calgarians to understand, grow, and build bridges with surrounding Indigenous communities. To understand how the 94 calls-to-action from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission can be incorporated into the context of Calgary, the City has released the White Goose Flying Report, which is named in memory of residential school victim Jack White Goose Flying.
To observe, show support, and work towards reconciliation on this national holiday, we recommend:
1. Wearing an Orange Shirt
5. Incorporating books and text by Indigenous authors into your or your children’s reading routines
Suggestions for adults:
Indian Horse by Richard Wagamese
Seven Fallen Feathers by Tanya Talaga
The Inconvenient Indian by Thomas King
Suggestions for children:
I Am Not a Number by Jenny Jay Dupois & Kathy Kacer
When We Were Alone by David Robertson and Julie Flett
Phyliss’ Orange Shirt by Phyllis Webstad
Arctic Stories by Michael Arvaarluk Kusugak
Amik Loves School: A Story of Wisdom by Katherena Vermette & Irene Juziw
Beaver & Porcupine by David Bouchard
Dear Canada: These are my Words: The Residential School Diary of Violet Pesheens by Ruby Slipperjack