This year, for the first time, September 30th will be marked as a statutory holiday - the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation.
For many years, this day has been commemorated as Orange Shirt Day, based on the story of residential school survivor Phyllis Webstad, who as a child, had her new favourite orange shirt stripped from her on her first day of attending residential school.
This new national holiday brings people together in the spirit of reconciliation to honour residential school survivors and their families.
From the 1870s to the 1990s, the residential school system was a collaboration between the Government of Canada and mainstream churches to remove Indigenous children from their communities, and from their families and culture.
This year, the unmarked graves of thousands of Indigenous children from residential schools have been discovered and is a horrifying reminder of the atrocities of the residential school system and the genocide of Indigenous peoples in Canada.
Today is a day to reflect on this truth and commit to reconciliation.
Below is a list of actions that you can take to commemorate this day, including online and in person events around the province that you can attend.
- Wear an orange shirt and start a conversation about the history of residential schools and reconciliation.
- Find out what First Nations Territory you reside on and make a point of Acknowledging it.
- Sign the petition for long-term meaningful support for ground penetrating radar to investigate all former residential school properties.
- Review the 94 Truth and Reconciliation Commission Calls to Action and commit to at least one.
- Familiarize yourself with the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.
- Support Indigenous work: Read Indigenous authors, watch Indigenous movies, buy Indigenous-made gifts, listen to Ingdienous podcasts, and follow Indigenous news sources.
- Create a Back Pocket Reconciliation Plan.
- Sept 30 National Day for Truth and Reconciliation on CBC
- Sept 30 National Day for Truth and Reconciliation hosted by Gord Downie & Chanie Wenjack Fund
- Sept 30, 10:00 a.m. Truth and Reconciliation Talking Circle hosted by University of Northern British Columbia
- Sept 30, 12:00 p.m. Orange Shirt Day presented by Bent Arrow on Facebook Live
- Sept 30, 2:15 p.m. Worldwide Drumming Circle Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc are inviting people across the world to simultaneously drum for the missing children of Indian residential schools on the first ever National Day of Truth and Reconciliation. The time, 2:15 pm, was chosen to signify the 215 children found on the site of the former Kamloops Indian Residential School in May of this year. Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc is urging everyone to learn the Secwepemc Honour Song
- A recalling of a residential school experience with Lex̱éywa Art Activism
In Person Events:
- Abbotsford, University of the Fraser Valley | Sept 29, 9:00 a.m. - 8:00 p.m. Lex̱éywa Art Activism: A recalling of a residential school experience
- Chilliwack | Sept 30, 4:00 p.m. Truth Marking Walk with Wilma’s Transition Society
- Coquitlam, Lafarge Lake | Sept 30, 2:00 p.m. Drum for the Children: Orange Shirt Day/National Day of Truth and Reconciliation
- Dawson Creek | Sept 30, 3:00 p.m. Orange Shirt Day March
- Kelowna, Okanagan Heritage Museum | Sept 30, 12:00 p.m. - 4:00 p.m. & Oct 2 10:00 a.m. Family Orange Shirt Days
- Maple Ridge, Memorial Peace Park | Sept 30, 7:00 p.m. National Day for Truth and Reconciliation Community Vigil
- Mission, Fraser River Heritage Park | Sept 30, 11:00 a.m. National Day of Truth and Reconciliation with Phyllis Webstad
- Nanaimo, Maffeo Sutton/ Swy-a-Lana Park | Sept 30, 10:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m. Honouring Our Children & Survivors on National Day for Truth and Reconciliation
- Port Alberni, Harbour Key | Sept 30, 11:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m. Orange Shirt Day Walk
- Port Moody, Noons Creek Hatchery | Sept 30, 1:30 p.m. - 3:00 p.m. Honouring the Children: Orange Shirt Day
- Prince Rupert, Prince Rupert Middle School Track and Field | Sept 30, 1:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m. Truth and Reconciliation Walk
- Terrace, Millennium Trail | Sept 30, 2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. Every Child Matters 5K Walk - Tears for the Children, Hope for the Future
- Grandview Park | Sept 30, 9:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m. Orange Shirt Day Elders' Walk with the Britannia Centre
- Šxʷƛ̓ənəq Xwtl’e7énḵ Square 850 W. Georgia Street | Sept 30, 12:00 p.m. Xweýene:msta:m ?əkwəsqwel, seýemSiYo
- Rio Theatre | Sept 30, 4:00 p.m. Orange Shirt Day: Beans (Filmmaker Q+A)
- Rio Theatre | Sept 30, 7:00 p.m. Orange Shirt Day: Don't Say its Name (BC Premiere/ Director Q+A)
- University of Victoria | Sept 29 9:00 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. Orange Shirt Day
- Centennial Square | Sept 30, 10:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m. National Reconciliation Day Ride
- Sno’uyutth Welcome Pole in front of Oak Bay High School | Sept 30, 10:00 a.m Honouring Children and Survivors
- Hampton Park | Sept 30, 11:00 a.m. Unveiling of territorial acknowledgement plaque
- Centennial Square | Sept 30, 12:00 p.m. - 2:30 p.m. Xe xe Smun' eem-Victoria Orange Shirt Day: Every Child Matters Ceremony
- Art Gallery of Greater Victoria | Sept 30, 12:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m. Holding Ground (Open house for Indigenous-led exhibition)
- Canadian College of Performing Arts | Oct 1, 7:00 p.m. Picking Up the Pieces: The Making of the Witness Blanket (film screening with ReconciliAction Oak Bay)
- Williams Lake
- St. Joseph's Mission site | Sept 30, 1:00 p.m. Ceremony to honour the Nationa Day for Truth and Reconciliation with Williams Lake First Nations
- Kiwanis Park | Sept 30 Story Walk (self-guided)
Thank you to the BC Federation of Labour for supplying this event list.
For an updated list of events, please visit bcfed.ca/events