September 30, 2021, marks the first National Day for Truth and Reconciliation in Canada
To work towards a shared hope for the future, reflection on the past must be observed.
Previously known as Orange Shirt Day, this day serves as an opportunity to bring awareness to the legacy of the residential school system. In the past year, the discovery of unmarked grave sites at former residential school locations across the country has brought the undeniable truth to Canada’s attention, and beyond. This day of observation is a way to honour the lost children and support the survivors of residential schools, their families, and the communities.
Ottawa is built on the unceded territory of the Algonquin Anishinaabe Nation. The city of Ottawa is home to an estimated 40,000 First Nation, Inuit, and Métis people.
If you’re looking for ways to reflect on and acknowledge the meaning of this day, here are some local gatherings available to you:
All events happening on September 30, 2021:
Suffer The Little Children
“Join Amnesty International Canada and Octopus Books for a conversation with Tamara Starblanket, legal scholar and author of Suffer the Little Children: Genocide, Indigenous Nations and the Canadian State”.
Remember Me: National Day of Remembrance
“A national gathering to remember Indigenous children and families impacted by residential schools, presented by the Indigenous Arts Collective of Canada. The day begins with opening ceremonies at Parliament Hill, followed by a Spirit Walk to Confederation Park, concluding with music, art, presentations and installations”.
National Day for Truth and Reconciliation and Orange Shirt Day at Beechwood Cemetery
Sunrise to sunset
“The Beechwood Cemetery Foundation has partnered with the Project of Heart, Assembly of 7 Generations and the First Nations Child and Family Caring Society to host a public Day of Reconciliation educational program. The event includes a 45-minute Reconciling History tour, an outdoor screening of Spirit Bear and Children Make History, and public display of tiles created by youth across Canada to honour residential school survivors”.
The Heritage Building and Marion Dewar Plaza at City Hall, as well as the OTTAWA sign in the ByWard Market will be lit up in orange at sundown.
If you choose to attend an event or to observe privately, be sure to wear an orange shirt in honour of Phyllis (Jack) Webstad, a former residential school student who had her orange shirt taken away from her on her first day at a residential school.
For those looking to donate and further support local indigenous community organizations:
A 24-hour Indian Residential Schools Crisis line is available at 1-866-925-4419 for former students in distress, or anyone affected by the residential school system. The Indian Residential School Survivors Society has a toll-free line at 1-800-721-0066.