September 30th marks the first National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, a day to honour survivors of residential schools, their communities, and the families who still have no answers. We take this day to publicly commemorate and confront the nation’s painful colonial history, to ensure the legacy of state-sanctioned residential schools, and trauma this community feels is never forgotten.
More than 150,000 First Nations, Métis and Inuit children were taken by force from their homes into 140 federally-funded residential institutions that operated from 1831, with the last residential school closing its doors in 1996, less than 25 years ago. While we speak of this as our nation’s past history, the intergenerational effects are still being felt by communities to this day, with systemic issues that have continued to marginalize Indigenous Peoples in the present.
WHY ORANGE SHIRTS?
Also known as Orange Shirt Day, the day holds significance because it falls during the time of year when First Nations, Métis and Inuit children were taken away from their families to attend these “schools” across the country. The day, which originated in Williams Lake in 2013, eventually spread to schools across the province and country. The orange shirt symbol originated from the experience of Phyllis Webstad, who was given an orange shirt to wear on her first day of residential school at St. Joseph’s Mission in British Columbia. Upon arrival, her shirt was immediately stripped away from her, much like the cultural identity, sovereignty, self-governance and freedom that has been stripped away from Indigenous communities for generations by way of colonialism.
IF YOU NEED SUPPORT:
Atira Women’s Resource Society Call-In Support
Indian Residential School Survivors Society – British Columbia
National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls
First Nations and Inuit Hope for Wellness Help Line
National IRS Crisis Line
Kids Help Phone
WAYS TO OBSERVE
CBC’s Full Screening here.
APTN’s Full Screening list.
Spirit Bear and Children Make History
Beans (Featuring Filmmaker Q&A) at The Rio Theatre
Don’t Say It’s Name (Featuring Director Q&A) at The Rio Theatre
National Truth and Reconciliation’s Events
Orange Shirt Day Events at Vancouver Art Gallery
Orange Shirt Day Elders’ Walk at the Britannia Community Centre
Skookum Surrey Ceremony at Holland Park
UBC’s Orange Shirt Day Intergenerational March
Museum of Anthropology’s Sound House presents: Never Forgotten
National Day for Truth and Reconciliation at Westminster Pier Park
SLCC’s National Day for Truth and Reconciliation Events
- The Indian Act
- The Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada’s 94 Calls to Action
- Reclaiming Power and Place: The Final Report of the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls
- United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP)
- BC Human Rights Tribunal’s Expanding Our Vision: Cultural Equality & Indigenous Peoples’ Human Rights
- In Plain Sight: Addressing Indigenous-specific Racism and Discrimination in BC Health Care
- Red Women Rising: Indigenous Women Survivors in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside
OTHER WAYS TO SUPPORT?
- Learn about the Land you live on.
- Use your voice and contact your local municipalities, The Premier of BC, and The Prime Minister of Canada and demand justice for Indigenous Peoples.
- Donate to organizations dedicated to supporting Indigenous communities, including the Indian Residential Schools Survivors Society, Urban Native Youth Association, Orange Shirt Society, Legacy of Hope Foundation, Tsow-Tun Le Lum Society, and Reconciliation Canada.
- Take part in online Indigenous Cultural Safety Training.
- Read up on how you can be an ally to First Nations, Metis, and Inuit communities.
IF YOU NEED SUPPORT, CONTACT US AT 604-681-4437 OR CALL OUR 24/7 CALL-IN SUPPORT LINE AT 604-880-8881.