National Day for Truth and Reconciliation
Wills Transfer would like to remind you that September 30th will mark Canada’s second National Day for Truth and Reconciliation.
This special day coincides with Orange Shirt Day and recognizes the tragic legacy of residential schools. Additionally, the day acknowledges the missing children, the families left behind, and the survivors of these institutions.
Advancing reconciliation with Indigenous Peoples is based on rights, respect, cooperation, and partnership. September 30th
With this in mind, I hope this post will provide you with a small picture of the horrors of our residential school program. Then help to demonstrate to you why the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation is so important.
The Truth and Reconciliation Commission
In 2008 the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) was launched. Initially, the TRC intended to guide Canadians through the facts behind the residential school program. Next, their goal was to create lasting reconciliation across Canada.
The TRC report documented the tragic experiences of approximately 150000 Canadian residential school students. Many of these school children were both sexually and physically abused. What is more, approximately 3200 residential school students died of malnourishment and other diseases caused by poor living conditions.
TRC labeled the residential school system as a case of “cultural genocide”. The final report defined cultural genocide as the “destruction of those structures and practices that allow the group to continue as a group”.
The report concluded: “these measures were part of a coherent policy to eliminate Indigenous people as a distinct people and to assimilate them into the Canadian mainstream against their will”.
Marking the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation
In June of 2021, a bill marking the tragic legacy of residential schools in Canada passed in Senate. In fact, the bill created a statutory holiday for Federal employees and regulated workplaces. Because of this, Canadians now recognize September 30th as the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation across Canada.
The Heritage Minister said the objective was for Canadians to learn and reflect on this dark chapter of our history. Then to honour the survivors, their families, and their communities.
Ways to Honour September 30th
This day may present itself as a time for quiet reflection. Or, you may choose to participate in a community event or to educate yourself.
September 30th is also marked as Orange Shirt Day. The wearing of orange is to honour residential school survivors and their families. Then it lends to support the ongoing commitment to reconciliation. Orange Shirt Day
Next, you could support Indigenous artists, business owners, journalists, and community organizers. Go to their Instagram page and send them a “like” or purchase Indigenous art online. You can also donate to Indigenous charities like the Indian Residential School Survivors Society (IRSSS).
Maybe take some time to read about residential schools. David A. Robertson, a Cree author, has curated a list of books by Indigenous writers about residential schools. You can find the entire list (48 books) Here!
You could watch documentaries or videos such as We Were Children or Every Child Matters. Both honest and moving. Alternatively, you could visit a museum like the Canadian Museum of History. They have several exhibitions yearly that pay homage and bring awareness to the tragic history of residential schools in Canada.
Just know, that however you choose to recognize the day it should have both meaning and purpose. Because, as Canadians, we need to learn, share, and celebrate to build a better country together.
If you found this post insightful, please check out Celebrate Workers on Labour Day. This post will take you back in time to the history of Labour Day.