On Thursday, September 30th, 2021, Canada’s first National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, we at CultureLink encourage our staff, stakeholders and community to take time to educate ourselves on the matter.
It is essential on our part not only to dedicate our thoughts to the First Nation, Métis, and Inuit survivors of Residential Schools and the families of those who did not return, but to recognize the importance of this day and take action to generate change for Indigenous peoples.
CultureLink will support its staff in exploring ways to incorporate Reconciliation education into our program’s activities this September 30 and beyond. It’s important that the community of new Canadians understand the rich history and culture of Canada’s First Nations, Inuit and Métis, and recognize Indigenous rights.
Truth and Reconciliation Week
September 30th, 2021 is also the 8th annual Orange Shirt Day. Shall we recognize the legacy of Canada’s residential school system and continue to learn the many truths of these institutions, as well as honour the First Nations, Métis, and Inuit children and communities impacted by this system.
During Truth and Reconciliation Week, September 27th to October 1st, we are encouraged to participate in events offered by the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation.
On this day, we recognize the ongoing trauma caused by residential and day schools and remember those who were lost, survivors and their families. It is also an opportunity to commit to the process of truth, reconciliation and justice with First Nations, Inuit and Métis in Toronto and across Canada, as well as take action to heal and build a better future together.
Orange Shirt Day is an Indigenous-led grassroots commemorative day that honours the children who survived Indian Residential Schools and remembers those who did not. This day relates to the experience of Phyllis Webstad, a Northern Secwpemc (Shuswap) from the Stswecem’c Xgat’tem First Nation, on her first day of school when she was 6 years old, where she arrived dressed in a new orange shirt, which was taken from her. It is now a symbol of the stripping away of culture, freedom and self-esteem experienced by Indigenous children over generations.
On September 30th, all Canadians are encouraged to wear orange to raise awareness of the very tragic legacy of residential schools, and to honour the thousands of Survivors.