September 30th marks the first National Day for Truth and Reconciliation to honour the histories, cultures and values of Indigenous peoples impacted by the Indian Residential School system. The declaration of this holiday is in response to the Truth and Reconciliation Call to Action No. 80, calling for 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.”
September 30th is also Orange Shirt Day – an Indigenous-led grassroots movement started by residential school survivor, Phyllis Webstad. Her orange shirt, now a symbol for awareness, was taken from her on her first day attending the St. Joseph Mission Residential School in Williams Lake, B.C. She turned this experience into a powerful tool for acknowledgement and reconciliation through Orange Shirt Day.
In honour of the children, survivors, their families and communities, let us all walk together wearing our orange shirts and engage in meaningful discussions about the impacts of residential schools and their legacy, which still resonate through communities and families to this day. When we come together with one heart and one mind, we will be better prepared to create a future that we can all be a part of and be proud of. People all across Canada are taking action on September 30th and we invite everyone to take time to acknowledge this painful history and honour survivors by learning more about the rich and diverse cultures, voices, experiences and stories of the First Nations, Inuit and Métis people.
While this is a day that will be hard for those who have experienced the impacts of residential schools, we also acknowledge and celebrate how far we have come. FPCC proudly stands with our Elders and Knowledge Holders in their important work to revitalize the languages and cultural knowledge that residential schools tried to erase. As we witness a growing respect for our communities across Turtle Island, it gives us great hope for the future.
Events to honour and support this day….
- Victoria, B.C – National Reconciliation Day Ride September 30th Centennial Square 10am – 12pm. Click here for more information.
- Victoria, B.C – Xe xe Smun’ eem – Victoria Orange Shirt Day: Every Child Matters Ceremony is Sept 30 in Centennial Square. Click here for more information.
- The Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc Nation in Kamloops B.C. has shared a video to help people learn the Secwépemc Honour Song to drum and sing at 2:15 p.m. Pacific time on Sept. 30. Click here for more information.
- Vancouver, B.C. – The Museum of Anthropology at UBC – MOA’s Sound House returns to mark Orange Shirt Day. Click here for more information.
- Vancouver, B.C. – Xweýene:msta:m ?əkwəsqwel, seýeḿ (translation: call to witness / listen to respected one) is a performance to honour Orange Shirt Day on Thursday, September 30 presented by the Vancouver Art Gallery. Click here for more information.
- Vancouver, B.C – Intergenerational March to commemorate Orange Shirt Day, Sept 30 @ 11:45am- 2pm. Click here for more information.
- BC Museum Association – List of virtual and in-person events. Click here for more information.
- Webinar: Circles for Reconciliation: Taking Action September 29 – National Day for Truth and Reconciliation. Click here for more information.
If you are non-Indigenous person looking for resources and ways to support and acknowledge this day…
- BC Friendship Centres: bcaafc.com/take-action/
- Make a donation to support Indian Residential School Survivors: www.irsss.ca
- Make a donation to support the revitalization of Indigenous languages, arts and culture in B.C. through the First Peoples’ Cultural Foundation: www.fpcf.ca
- CBC: How to watch and listen to National Day for Truth and Reconciliation on CBC | CBC Arts
- Museum Association: List of virtual/in-person events: Honouring Orange Shirt Day – National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, September 30 – BCMA (museum.bc.ca)
- TRC Calls to Action – read the 94 calls and commit to at least one.
- Learn whose land you are on with the First Peoples Map of B.C. maps.fpcc.ca
- Use FirstVoices.com to learn a greeting, word, phrase or song from a First Nations language in your area.
- Read some of these great program stories that Indigenous communities are doing to revitalize their languages, arts and cultural heritage in B.C.
- Reach out to an Indigenous community organization in your area and look for opportunities to support.
- Vancouver Magazine also published a list of shirts created by Indigenous designers: https://www.vanmag.com/Where-to-Purchase-Orange-Shirts-for-Canada-Day
If you are Indigenous and are seeking additional support…
- BC Friendship Centres: Connect with a BC FC in your area https://bcaafc.com/about-us/friendship-centres/
- First Peoples’ Cultural Council – Resources and funding support. Talk to a program associate today.
- A 24-hour Indian Residential School Crisis Line to support former residential school students, and those affected, can be reached any time at 1-866-925-4419.