Five Meaningful Ways to Mark The National Day for Truth and Reconciliation

September 30 marks the inaugural National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, which was established in response to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada’s 80th call to action:  

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.” 

Many governments, organizations and businesses, including MLT Aikins, have announced closures to observe the day and reflect on the legacy of residential schools. There are a number of ways you can deepen your understanding of what we can do to drive the reconciliation process forward 

  1. Read the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s calls to action and know which ones apply to you: 
    1. Truth and Reconciliation Commission:94 Calls to Action 
    2. Hear from The Honourable Murray Sinclair on How Canadians can work toward reconciliation 
  2. Participate in the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation’s “Truth and Reconciliation Week 2021,” an online event featuring important conversations about the truths of the Indigenous treaties; First Nation, Métis and Inuit land claims; and the residential school system. 
  3. Take the University of Alberta’s free “Indigenous Canada” online course that explores Indigenous histories and contemporary issues in Canada. Topics  include: the fur trade and other exchange relationships, land claims and environmental impacts, legal systems and rights, political conflicts and alliances, Indigenous political activism, and contemporary Indigenous life and art. 
  4. Wear your orange shirt and learn more about the history behind Orange Shirt Day and the significance of Phyllis Webstad’s story as a residential school survivor. 
  5. Read about the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP). UNDRIP establishes a universal framework of minimum standards for the survival, dignity and well-being of the indigenous peoples of the world. It elaborates on existing human rights standards and fundamental freedoms as they apply to the specific situations of indigenous peoples.  

Events taking place across Western Canada: 

British Columbia  

University of British Columbia Intergenerational March for Orange Shirt Day 

  • September 30 at 12 p.m. outside the Indian Residential School History and Dialogue Centre​ 
  • The event begins with a Musqueam welcome, bannock and tea. The march will follow a marked pathway along Main Mall to the Reconciliation Pole, where ​a guest Elder/Survivor will address attendees.​​ 

Alberta

CFWE Radio Orange Shirt Day Run/Walk Every Child Matters

  • September 30 at 3 p.m. at Indigenous Art Park, Edmonton.
  • This event aims to raise funds for the Indian Residential School Survivors Society and local grassroots movements 
  • The event begins with a ceremony and words from elders at the Indigenous Art Park at 3 p.m. and the run/walk will start at the Kinsmen Park area at 4 p.m.  

Grande Prairie Friendship Centre Orange Shirt Day Run/Walk

  • September 30 at 4 p.m. at the Pavillion at Muskoskeepi
  • Hosted by the Grande Prairie Friendship Centre, the event begins at 4 p.m. with a prayer 
  • The walk/run will start at 4:30 p.m. at the Pavilion at Muskoseepi Park 
  • Registration is $15 and includes a unique medal and pin 

Saskatchewan

Wanuskewin National Day for Truth and Reconciliation Events

  • September 30 10 a.m.-5 p.m. at Wanuskewin Heritage Park 
  • Events throughout the day include an honour gathering for survivors and families, archaeology walk, tipi raising, performances and more 

Saskatoon Tribal Council: Every Child Matters Concert

  • September 30 at 7 p.m., SaskTel Centre 
  • Featuring Gord Bamford, Charlie Major and George Canyon 

Royal Sask Museum: Orange Shirt Day Virtual Presentation

  • September 30 at 2 p.m.

Manitoba

Canadian Museum for Human Rights 

  • The CMHR is currently featuring a number of exhibits, including the Witness Blanket, that honour survivors of residential schools, and an installation of a thousand paper cranes to honour the children. 
  • The Museum will light the Israel Asper Tower of Hope orange in honour of the Orange Shirt movement that recognizes the trauma of children forced to attend Indian residential schools. The tower will be orange from dusk on September 29 to sunrise on October 1. 

Orange Shirt Day at the Manitoba Museum

  • To honour Orange Shirt Day and the new National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, the Manitoba Museum is providing complimentary admission to the Museum Galleries from Thursday, September 30 to Sunday, October 3. 
  • Orange Shirt Days @ the Manitoba Museum include special, all-day programming in the Museum Galleries focused on the history of Indian Residential Schools and the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) Calls to Action. 

Healing Walk – Orange Shirt Day: 60s Scoop Legacy of Canada

  • September 30 at 11 a.m. at the Canadian Museum of Human Rights 
  • A Healing Walk in honour of Indian Residential Schools, Day Schools and the Sixties Scoop Survivors and their families 
  • The group will walk to St. John’s Park, where a Welcome Home Pow-wow is being held by Wa-Say Healing Centre 

Winnipeg Art Gallery – Survivor Stories & Panel Discussion

  • September 30, 11:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. at the Winnipeg Art Gallery. 
  • In honour of the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, WAG-Qaumajuq, in partnership with the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation, will be hosting a day of survivor stories and a panel discussion. 

The offices of MLT Aikins will be closed on September 30, 2021 in observance of National Day for Truth and Reconciliation. 

Mary Big Bull Photography | Indigenous Photographer
Photo by Indigenous Photographer Mary Big Bull Photography