On June 3, 2021, The Government of Canada passed legislation (Bill C-5) to recognize every September 30 as National Day for Truth and Reconciliation. This day is an important step in the reconciliation process. It provides an opportunity to recognize and commemorate the tragic history and ongoing legacy of residential schools, and to honour their survivors, their families, and communities.
In recognition of and to help us to reflect on this important day, CMHA Calgary will be closed on this day.
September 30 is also recognized as Orange Shirt Day, created in 2013 to educate people and promote awareness in Canada about the residential school system and the impact it has had on Indigenous communities, and honour the Indigenous children who were sent away to residential school.
Every year, people across Canada wear orange and participate in Orange Shirt Day events to recognize and raise awareness about the history and legacies of the residential school system in Canada.
Orange Shirt Day originates from the story of Phyllis Webstad from the Stswecem’c Xgat’tem First Nation.
In 1973, on her first day at St. Joseph’s Residential School in Williams Lake, BC, Phyllis’s shiny new orange shirt was stripped from her, never to be seen again.
40 years later, on September 30th, 2013, Phyllis spoke publicly for the first time about her experience, and thus began the Orange Shirt Day movement.
I am honored to be able to tell my story so that others may benefit and understand, and maybe other survivors will feel comfortable enough to share their stories.
What can I do on Thursday, September 30?
Commemorate, reflect and honour survivors and their families by doing your part to actively learn about the history of Indigenous peoples in Canada.
- Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada: Calls to Action
- United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples – United Nations
- National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation – University of Manitoba
- Orange Shirt Day
- What is Orange Shirt Day – CBC Kids
- Residential Schools in Canada: A Timeline (Video) – Historica Canada
- Residential Schools in Canada – The Canadian Encyclopedia
Resources and Learning Opportunities:
- Reconciliation: A Starting Point – a mobile app for learning about First Nations, Inuit and Métis Peoples, including key historical events and examples of reconciliation initiatives.
- Blackfoot language program offered to Calgarians aims to keep Indigenous culture and oral traditions alive – CTV News
- First Nations Communities Read Awards 2021/2022 – Ontario Library Service
- IndigiTRAILS (free app available on Apple and Android devices. The app uses GPS or location services to allow audiences to take part in digital art galleries and other future activities within Calgary).
- Indigenous Canada – open online free 12-week course from University of Alberta
- Educator Magazine – a comic-based magazine outlining Indigenous history
Calgary-based Indigenous Agencies:
- Aboriginal Friendship Centre of Calgary – removes barriers and empowers the urban community through cultural reconnection, programs, services, and access to resources that address the social and economic realities
- Urban Society for Aboriginal Youth – provide essential programming and services to Calgary’s Indigenous youth between the ages of twelve and twenty-nine.
- Elbow River Healing Lodge – offers a full range of primary care services and visiting specialists to First Nations (Status and Non-Status), Métis, and Inuit peoples and their families.
- Awo Taan Healing Lodge Society – provides a broad continuum of support services, guided by Aboriginal traditional teachings that include prevention, intervention, and healing to anyone affected by any form of abuse
- Native Counselling Services of Alberta – promote the resilience of the Indigenous individual and family, through programs and services that are grounded in reclaiming interconnectedness, reconciliation of relationships, and self-determination
Our Peer Support program services can be accessed over the phone at 403-297-1402 or through email at email@example.com. We have teamed up with other Calgary agencies to help Calgarians quickly and easily access various counselling and social supports. Visit www.communityconnectyyc.ca, where you can book online for our Suicide Bereavement and Family Support Counselling, and other supports. If you prefer to still book through us, please phone (403-297-1708), or email (firstname.lastname@example.org).