September 30th: A Day for Reflection and Commitment to Change

“Education is what got us into this mess, and education will get us out.” —Murray Sinclair

The National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, September 30th, is a response to Call to Action #80 of the Final Report of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. Chaired by Justice Murray Sinclair, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) was designed to provide opportunities for Indigenous people to share their stories and experiences of how the horrible legacy of residential schools has affected them–both directly and indirectly. To this end, the TRC conducted hearings, ceremonies, and other activities from 2008 to 2015. The Final Report of the TRC comprises 94 Calls to Action. Call to Action #80 urged a federal statutory day of commemoration.

The National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation is the permanent archive for the statements, documents, and other materials that the Commission gathered. The National Centre’s libraries and collections, as well as its National Students Memorial Register are the heart of ongoing research and learning about the legacy of the residential schools that operated across so-called Canada from the 1870s to the 1990s.

Take the time today to read the Final Report of the TRC and reflect on it, browse the National Centre’s libraries and collections, and explore the resources here.

September 30th is also called Orange Shirt Day, commemorating the story of Phyllis Westad who wore a new orange shirt on their first day in attendance at one of the residential schools. A gift from Westad’s grandmother, the shirt (like all of the belongings that accompanied Westad to the school) was taken from Westad upon their arrival at the school.

[Description of graphic below: NATIONAL DAY FOR TRUTH AND RECONCILIATION appears in the top half of the poster. Below this phrase is the hashtag #Orange Shirt Day. The bottom half of the poster comprises an image by Indigenous artist Andy Everson that depicts the words EVERY CHILD MATTERS encircled by pairs of open hands.]

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