Updated: May 15
Today, Friday, September 30, 2022, marks the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation.
This day honours the lost children and survivors of residential and day schools, their families and communities. It also recognizes the ongoing trauma, present day impacts, and the lasting legacy of Canada's residential and day school system. To mark this day, flags at City Hall and civic centres will be lowered to half-mast and the Toronto sign will be lit orange on September 30th. The Survivors Flag will also be flown at half-mast at City Hall.
Sadly, for over 167 years, First Nations, Inuit, and Métis children in Canada were systematically taken away from their families and communities, and forcibly sent away to these schools. Thousands of these children never returned home, and many more experienced unimaginable abuse and neglect.
In 2015, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada proposed the creation of a federal 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.
By coinciding with Orange Shirt Day, the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation builds on the efforts of the Orange Shirt Society, an Indigenous-led grassroots movement intended to raise awareness of the intergenerational impacts of residential schools.
Many Canadians wear orange shirts on September 30th to honour Phyllis’ story, whose new orange shirt was taken from her on her first day at residential school when she was just six years old. Today, the orange shirt serves as a symbol of the stripping away of culture, freedom and self-esteem experienced by Indigenous children over generations.
If you scroll down within this blog, additionally we have provided even more resources to guide you towards truth and reconciliation, acknowledging and educating yourself and others. This blog will also give you a glimpse of what LCCC has done to educate and reflect, not just on Orange Shirt Day but days moving forward.
Reconciliation is the responsibility of every Canadian, and it involves the process of establishing and maintaining respectful relationships.
By acknowledging and learning from the past, respecting Indigenous treaties and rights, and letting go of negative perceptions and stereotypes, we can ensure history never repeats itself and work towards solidarity.
Read the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s final report and identify calls to action that you can address, both personally and professionally
Visit the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation (NCTR) website
Review the Remembering the Children Educator's Guide 2022, which includes teacher reflections, information on how to prepare for difficult conversations, considering the role of media on public awareness of residential schools, understanding daily life in residential schools and making reconciliation real
Read the Indigenous Study Guide: An Educators Guide to Understanding Indigenous Content in K-12 Classrooms to learn about Indigenous worldviews, histories, perspectives, and contemporary issues
Watch CMAS' Webinars on Supporting Child Care in Settlement Community to learn about reconciliation and Indigenous pedagogies in early learning and child care
Learn about residential schools and take a tour of former sites, such as those offered by the Woodland Cultural Centre
Read books – the Toronto Public Library has curated a list of Indigenous must-reads including books for children
For additional resources for children on residential schools, please connect with your Consultant.
Watch films and documentaries that reflect on the residential school experience – the National Film Board of Canada offers a rich collection of Indigenous-made films
Research First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples in your area to understand their history and contributions to society
Learn about the significance of land acknowledgements and learn the one in your area “Land acknowledgements: uncovering an oral history of Tkaronto,” via Local Love
Access the Indigenous Resource Guide curated by NSCC Libraries
Identify ways you can continue your learning throughout the year and make a commitment to learning more about the legacy of residential and day schools in Canada
Support or volunteer for local Indigenous organizations or causes
Support local Indigenous artists and businesses
Purchase books, learning materials and supplies from Indigenous owned book stores and supply stores
Buy an orange shirt from an Indigenous artist or company that supports Indigenous causes, or directly through the Orange Shirt Society
Wear orange on September 30 for Orange Shirt Day, to honour Phyllis’s story
If your child care program is closed on September 30, shift Orange Shirt Day activities to Secret Path Week (Oct 17-22).
Invite an Elder into your program to foster positive relationships between Indigenous and non-Indigenous communities
If you are inviting an Elder to your program, make sure you follow the appropriate protocol for this person.
An honorarium is usually given and in most cases a small offering, often tobacco, should be made at the time of request.
Engage children in this process by explaining the importance of ritual and protocol in Indigenous cultures and undertaking any necessary research together.
Craft your request or invitation as a group, if possibleAttend Indigenous cultural events open to the public, such as:
Sept. 29 and 30 – Toronto Council Fire Indigenous Legacy Gathering at Nathan Phillips Square
Sept. 30 – The Gord Downie & Chanie Wenjack Fund present a panel discussion at 1 p.m., “Indigenous Perspectives on the Pope’s Apology ” (registration required) and A Day to Listen, broadcast on numerous radio stations across the country, to highlight Indigenous voices and stories
Sept. 30, 12 p.m. – “Wisdom Weavers: Storytelling & Traditional Teachings,” Anishnawbe Health Toronto via Facebook**
Sept. 30, 8 p.m. – Free concert: “Commemorate Truth & Reconciliation: Tomson Highway, Rebecca Cuddy, Sarain Fox, and more”, Royal Conservatory of Music, (Koerner Hall, 273 Bloor St. W.)
Oct. 1 – Native Child and Family Services of Toronto 25th Annual Community Pow Wow (Dufferin Grove Park, 875 Dufferin St.)
Support the reclamation of identity, language and culture and learn greetings/phrases in Indigenous languages
Discussions and events to commemorate the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation may be difficult for many.
Understand that Indigenous staff and families may wish to take the day off to attend ceremonies, events, spend the day with their families or for personal healing. We encourage you to support them in taking the time they need.
The following resources are available, if you or your staff need support:
Crisis Services Canada: 1-833-456-4566 or text 45645
Hope For Wellness Helpline for Indigenous peoples: 1-855-242-3310
Native Youth Crisis Line: 1-877-209-1266
National Indian Residential School Crisis Line provides emotional and crisis referral services at a 24-hour line: 1-866-925-4419
Talk4Healing is a culturally grounded, fully confidential helpline for Indigenous women available in 14 languages all across Ontario: 1-855-554-HEAL
We hope you will join us on this journey, as we move forward together on committing to the process of truth, justice and reconciliation.