By Taylor Veenstra, Communications & Marketing Intern
On Sept 30, Canada will come together to observe the federal statutory holiday called the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation. This day holds immense significance for the country and its Indigenous peoples. It’s a day for us all to pause, reflect, and embark on a journey of education and reconciliation.
What is the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation?
The National Day for Truth and Reconciliation was established in response to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada’s Calls to Action. The TRC was formed to address the historical trauma and injustices inflicted upon Indigenous peoples through the Canadian government’s residential school system.
Residential schools were institutions where Indigenous children were forcibly separated from their families and cultures, subjected to abuse, and stripped of their language and traditions. The effects of this dark chapter in Canada’s history continue to impact Indigenous communities today.
The National Day for Truth and Reconciliation serves as a day of remembrance for the survivors of residential schools, their families, and the thousands of Indigenous children who never returned home. It also encourages all Canadians to reflect on the history of colonialism, systemic racism, and the ongoing struggles Indigenous peoples face. It allows survivors and their families to share their stories, heal, and reclaim their cultural heritage and symbolizes a commitment to reconciliation between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples in Canada.
3 Ways You Can Support
- Educate Yourself: Explore how to actively participate and learn more about this day. Take the time to learn about the history of residential schools, the TRC’s Calls to Action, and the experiences of Indigenous peoples in Canada. Read books, watch documentaries, and follow Indigenous news sources to gain a deeper understanding.
- Support Indigenous Initiatives & Events: There are many events and ceremonies taking place across communities on the week of Sept 30. Consider attending these events to listen to survivors’ stories, engage in discussions, and show your support. Seek out Indigenous-owned businesses and organizations to support as you can help empower Indigenous communities economically and culturally.
- Engage in Conversations: Encourage others to educate themselves about the history and experiences of Indigenous peoples. Engage in open and respectful conversations with friends, family, and colleagues about the history and ongoing issues Indigenous communities face.
The National Day for Truth and Reconciliation is vital to healing, reconciliation, and understanding in Canada. By acknowledging the past and committing to a better future for Indigenous peoples, Canadians can contribute to the ongoing reconciliation process and create a more inclusive and just society. Take the time to learn, reflect, and get involved on Sept 30 and throughout the year.