September 30, 2021 marks the first National Day for Truth and Reconciliation. The day honours the lost children and Survivors of residential schools, their families and communities. Public commemoration of the tragic and painful history and ongoing impacts of residential schools is a vital component of the reconciliation process. (Government of Canada)
There are events, learning opportunities, and invitations to reflect for the people in what is commonly called Canada to truly acknowledge colonial history and work for a better, more equitable future.
Reconciliation reality check: Justice Murray Sinclair and Rosanna Deerchild in conversation
From CBC’s Unreserved: Rosanna Deerchild sat down for a revealing, poignant and emotional conversation with Murray Sinclair, former Senator and Lead Commissioner of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. In this intimate, hour-long interview — recorded in his backyard gazebo — they discuss reconciliation: how far we’ve come, how far we have left to go and who is responsible for taking the journey. Find out what kept him going during the TRC and what reconciliation looks like to him.
Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada
The Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada, including the 94 Calls to Action (2015) took on the huge task “to redress the legacy of residential schools and advance the process of Canadian reconciliation.” The Calls to Action include points that PAN and member organizations can address to support equity and dignity for Indigenous peoples and communities.
National Day for Truth and Reconciliation should be a solemn day to reflect
Author Michelle Good says that Canadians should take the first National Day for Truth and Reconciliation on September 30 to reflect on their history and participate in events. “I really think it needs to be considered in the same vein as Remembrance Day,” said Michelle Good, author of the award-winning book Five Little Indians, which chronicles the journey of five residential school survivors.
Truth and Reconciliation Week events
The National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation is providing online training in Truth and Reconciliation Week, September 27-October 1. Truth and Reconciliation Week is a 5-day national event for important conversations on the truths of the Indigenous treaties, First Nation, Métis and Inuit land claims, and the residential schools system. There are options for school aged kids and educators, plus events for the events for the general public.
Running free: Wildflowers growing freely for the children who never had the chance
A group of coworkers living on the traditional, unceded, stolen lands of the Coast Salish people are among the many people who were devastated by the news of the discovery of the remains of 215 Indigenous children at the site of a residential school on the lands of the Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc First Nation. Their vision is to plant 215 wildflower gardens in memory of the children whose lives were taken on the lands of the Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc First Nation. Join the group to launch a wildflower garden that will memorialize the children lost to Canada’s residential schools. September 29 in Vancouver. Learn more
Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc drumming for the children
Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc wishes to involve the world in recognizing the very first Canadian National Day of Truth and Reconciliation. After a global outpouring of interest and support for the missing children from the Kamloops Indian Residential School. Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc is offering a way for people to connect, support and ground into the importance of September 30, 2021. Join in virtually on September 30 at 11 AM Pacific time.
Orange Shirt Day is September 30
Watch the history of Orange Shirt Day in Phyllis’ story, and get your shirt to support awareness and change.
Take part: Remember Me: A National Day of Remembrance
A national gathering to remember Indigenous children and families affected by the Indian Residential Schools and all Indigenous child apprehension programs. Live stream starting at 7 AM Pacific time on September 30.
National Day for Truth and Reconciliation: a Discussion
In anticipation of the newly established federal day of reflection on the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation (September 30), many people in Canada have been wondering what this day means. Downie Wenjack Fund President and CEO Sarah Midanik will be hosting a discussion to explore this new day of reflection, the significance of September 30, what this means for reconciliation in Canada, and how we can participate meaningfully.
Why Dr. Peter Bryce’s legacy still matters today
Peter Bryce was one of the first Canadian government physicians to blow the whistle on systemic health risks impacting Indigenous people. Through placing his career and reputation on the line to tell the truth, Bryce showed “the moral conviction and courage it requires to enact the Hippocratic Oath and to transition reconciliation from an ideology to a reality,” wrote Travis Hay, together with Cindy Blackstock and Michael Kirlew in 2020. The three authors seek to keep Bryce’s memory alive in part because of what it can teach us about Canadian government responses to health-care crises in Indigenous communities. “If the Government of Canada had listened to Dr. Bryce,” Blackstock told me, “and if an outraged public pushed the government to act when headlines about Dr. Bryce’s reports appeared in newspapers across the country, thousands of children’s lives could have been saved.”
Trick or Treaty?
Trick or Treaty? succinctly and powerfully portrays one community’s attempts to enforce their treaty rights and protect their lands, while also revealing the complexities of contemporary treaty agreements. Trick or Treaty? made history as the first film by an Indigenous filmmaker to be part of the Masters section at TIFF when it screened there in 2014.
Indigenous Resistance and Culture: Four Films Depicting the First Nations Struggle for Survival and Identity
From the National Film Board of Canada, these films offer educators and students the opportunity to learn about how colonization impacted four First Nations, and to see their stories told by the Indigenous directors who filmed them.
Resources for emotional support
KUU-US Crisis Line Society
The KUU-US Crisis Line Society provides a First Nations and Indigenous specific crisis line available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, toll-free from anywhere in British Columbia. KUU-US Crisis Line can be reached toll-free at 1-800-588-8717. Alternatively, individuals can call direct into the Youth Line at 250-723-2040 or the Adult Line at 250-723-4050.
Indian Residential School Survivors Society
The Indian Residential School Survivors Society operates a toll-free 1 (800) 721-0066 or 24hr Crisis Line 1 (866) 925-4419 if you need emotional support.
To join conversations about events, resources, and reflections on the first National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, see what folks are sharing on Twitter with the hashtag #NationalDayforTruthandReconciliation. You don’t need a Twitter account to read the posts.