National Day for Truth and Reconciliation

Published: September 9, 2022

We want to acknowledge and honor Canada’s National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, a day in our calendar that honors the children who never returned home and Survivors of residential schools, as well as their families and communities.

Orange Shirt Day also takes place on Sept. 30th, an Indigenous-led grassroots commemorative day intended to raise awareness of the individual, family, and community inter-generational impacts of residential schools, and to promote the concept of “Every Child Matters”. September 30th was chosen as the date for Orange Shirt Day because it is the time of year when children were taken from their homes to residential schools and because it is an opportunity to set the stage for anti-racism and anti-bullying policies for the coming school year. The orange shirt symbolizes the shiny new orange shirt that then six-year-old Phyllis Webstad’s grandmother bought for her, which was taken away on her first day of residential school in 1973. It symbolizes the stripping away of culture, freedom, and self-esteem experienced by Indigenous children over generations.

The holiday, now taking place for a second year, aims to bring light to the history and legacy of Canadian residential schools. These schools were tragically operated between the late 1800s and the late 1990s by the federal government and Christian churches as part of a federal policy to assimilate Indigenous people into Canadian society. Indigenous children were forcibly removed from their homes and taken to schools, where some children experienced abuse and died, never returning home.

Special visuals have been created to commemorate this day. Among the various visual elements illustrating Indigenous cultures, the circle is at the center, representing being together in the spirit of reconciliation. The orange color represents truth-telling and healing. The pathway represents the road to reconciliation. First Nations, Inuit, and Métis are represented in the image.

The eagle represents First Nations, the narwhal represents Inuit; The beaded flower represents Métis

Please help us observe this holiday. Get involved and learn more through the resources below: