National Day for Truth & Reconciliation
“On this solemn day we boldly proclaim our conviction to journey with our Indigenous brothers and sisters in a spirit of Truth and Reconciliation. Each step we pledge our commitment to active listening, prayer and right action and to do all we can to promote the dignity of the human person.”
Patrick J. Daly, President, Ontario Catholic School Trustees’ Association
September 30th, 2023 marks the third annual National Day for Truth and Reconciliation. Created as a response to Truth and Reconiliation Call to Action 80, this day honours the lost children and Survivors of residential schools, their families and communities.
The creation of this federal statutory holiday was through legislative amendments made by Parliament. On June 3, 2021, Bill C-5, An Act to amend the Bills of Exchange Act, the Interpretation Act and the Canada Labour Code (National Day for Truth and Reconciliation) received Royal Assent. The date was chosen because it is the time of year in which children were taken from their homes to residential schools. Since 2013 this date has been known as Orange Shirt Day – 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, 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.
Please click on the box below for additional background and resource information:
On September 30, 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.
Catholic school boards across Ontario are recognizing this day and deepening local understanding on this topic through various initiatives througout this week and this year – see highlights of activities below as shared by CDSBs:
From Sept. 25 – 30 ALCDSB schools will be reviewing Truth and Reconciliation Calls to Action and exploring conversations on True History reconciliation and responsibilities in preparation for the #NationalDayofTruthandReconciliation on Saturday, September 30.
Due to September 30 falling on a Saturday this year, the ALCDSB is recognizing this day on Friday, September 29. We encourage all members of the ALCDSB to send out messaging around students and staff wearing Orange Shirts on Friday, September 29 to demonstrate ALCDSB support and commitment to Residential School survivors and their families.
The #ALCDSB acknowledges this date to bring about structural change, not to simply participate in a one-day event. It is not just only one day for reflecting on and remembering the thousands of Indigenous children taken from their homes and sent to Residential Schools across this nation. On this day we remember their families and Residential School Survivors and ensure space and time to continue to build relationships, have conversations and take action by continuing to do the work. It is a time to also discuss Influential Indigenous change makers.
Every educator across the ALCDSB has a responsibility to encourage school based actionable change towards Truth and Reconciliation and to understand and teach the True History of this country.
What some ALCDSB educators are doing with their students this week to acknowledge and educate on The National Day for Truth and Reconciliation:
- keep in line with the FNMIEAO Guidelines when engaging with Indigenous knowledge
- focus on Indigenous Change-makers and True History
- build with the resources sent from the Indigenous Education Team
- explore the Truth and Reconciliation Calls to Action with your students. Have students commit to an actionable change moving forward
- learn about which Treaty your school is situated on
- co-create an actionable change with your class, examples: co-create an Indigenous playlist with the class
- commitment to reading and centering Indigenous texts or purchasing from local Indigenous owned vendors and shops
- uphold Indigenous way of knowing with respect and integrity.
- For example, collaborate and consult with the Indigenous Education Team in planning to ensure you are well supported and protocols are followed.
For further reading or to donate, please visit: tto-kenhteke.org
To support this “call to love” for Truth and Reconciliation Week, Orange Shirt Day, and beyond, the Hamilton-Wentworth Catholic District School Board is focused on:
- building positive connections and relationships while strengthening collaborations with Indigenous communities, parents and families;
- recognizing the tragic legacy of residential schools, the missing children, the families left behind and the survivors of these institutions; and
- exploring the rich and diverse cultures, voices, experiences and histories of First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples.
This year, the HWCDSB will recognize the Orange Shirt Day campaign on September 29, 2023.
As Scripture tells us, “If we love one another, God lives in us” (1 John 4:12).
This Friday, September 29, the Kenora Catholic District School Board will be honouring National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, also known as Orange Shirt Day. While the official day falls on Saturday, September 30, the Board will take the opportunity on Friday to honour Orange Shirt Day while school is in session, to enable students to wear our orange shirts and reflect on reconciliation as a school community.
Every Student Gets an Orange Shirt
This year the Kenora Catholic DSB is pleased to share that each student is being gifted an Orange T-shirt with Kitana Blackhawk’s design on it. They encourage all students to wear their orange T-shirt on Friday, September 29.
September 30 is the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, and Orange Shirt Day. In order to honour those impacted by and to raise awareness of residential schools, NPSC students and staff are encouraged to wear orange throughout the week of September 25. Commemoration of this painful piece of Canada’s history is a vital component of reconciliation, which we support in our Truth and Reconciliation Action Plan.
We continue to keep all the children and their families affected in our thoughts and prayers, for peace and healing.
Our NPSC elementary schools also have a variety of activities planned for the day. These activities all help to make Truth & Reconciliation a reality in our schools so that we can continue to walk forward together.
Please see below for a few more resources:
- Prayer for Truth and Reconciliation
- Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada – Teaching Resources
- Residential Schools Podcast Series
- YouTube – Video links
- I Am Not A Number – Jenny Kay Dupuis