September 30th, 2021 marks the first National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, a new federal statutory holiday to recognize and honour Indigenous survivors of Residential Schools, commemorate the children that were lost, and reflect on the legacy of trauma that continues to affect Indigenous families today.
Since 2013, September 30th has opened the door to global conversation about Residential Schools in Canada through Orange Shirt Day. This date was chosen because it is the time of year in which children were taken from their homes to Residential Schools. The movement was started by Phyllis Webstad who wrote the book “The Orange Shirt Story” and it is largely observed in schools across the country.
To observe National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, ITO and our allies invite Canadians to be mindful of Canada’s relations with the First Peoples of Turtle Island; to be mindful not only of the history, but of present day relationships. We invite you to be mindful not only of the ways in which the government relates to the First Peoples, but to reflect on the ways Canadians themselves think about and relate to Indigenous Peoples from coast to coast to coast. We invite you to think about how these relationships impact the world we live in, the land we share, and most importantly, the future we are creating for generations to come.
We know that on this first annual Day for Truth and Reconciliation you may be overwhelmed with information and calls to action and you may wonder where to even start. We hope these suggestions help you on your way.
LEARN SOMETHING NEW
Do some reading on one of the following topics.
- History of Residential Schools – read about the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation and the TRC’s 94 Calls to Action
- Treaties – We are all treaty people. Find the treaty where you live. What is the history of that agreement?
- Be a Good Neighbor – Learn whose traditional territory you live on. What Indigenous groups are present in your region and community?
EXPERIENCE INDIGENOUS CULTURE
Listen to Indigenous stories.
- Read a book by an Indigenous author
- Watch Indigenous movies and television shows
- Take part in Indigenous tourism – visit IndigenousExperienceOntario.ca to find galleries, cultural centres, guides and excursions where you can meet and learn from authentic Indigenous storytellers
MAKE A DIFFERENCE
Take action and carry the momentum forward throughout the year
- Have conversations with friends and family to share what you’ve learned
- Make a donation to Indian Residential School Survivors Society (IRSSS), National Council for Truth and Reconciliation (NCTR), Orange Shirt Society or similar Indigenous organizations
- Advocate for the adoption of the 94 Calls to Action in whatever capacity you can – within your place of work, and at all levels of government
- Pledge to seek out Indigenous experiences in your travels
- Support Indigenous businesses year-round
- Learn what it takes to be an ally every day
We are all on a lifelong journey of learning and experiencing the world. We hope that on this day, you take a step forward on that journey and remember that while September 30th serves as a valuable opportunity for Indigenous Peoples, local governments, schools and communities to come together in the spirit of reconciliation, strong allyship is essential year-round. The path towards reconciliation is ongoing; we encourage everyone to embrace meaningful partnerships and continue to learn and engage in conversations about Truth and Reconciliation throughout the year.
On September 30th, ITO and our trusted partners are observing a day of reflection for Truth and Reconciliation. We would like to thank our partners for their allyship – today and every day – as we work to improve the socio-economic conditions of Indigenous Peoples through tourism.