What is the National Day for Truth & Reconciliation?
Held on September 30th, this day is a time to learn, reflect, and honour the many Indigenous Peoples who have suffered and the many who continue to suffer from horrific treatment and programs, such as the former Residential Schools.
What were Residential Schools?
Residential Schools were put in place by the Canadian government to assimilate Indigenous Peoples into Canadian culture. Children were taken away from their families for long periods of time and stripped of their culture and dignity. Many children never returned home. Thousands of unmarked graves have been uncovered to date.
These “schools'' were in operation from 1860 to 1996, and traumatized, and continue to traumatize, many generations of Indigenous Peoples. We honour all Indigenous folks on September 30th and collectively mourn the loss of many, many children.
How can you help?
Here are a few ways you can donate your money or time to help:
Sign the House of Commons Indigenous Affairs petition: the goal of this petition is to get the Canadian government to “pay for the cost of ground-penetrating radar to investigate all former residential school properties, with the expectation that additional Indigenous children in unmarked graves may be properly identified and laid to rest; releasing all documents related to deaths and burial grounds at all residential schools, and compelling the churches and other levels of governments to do the same; and securing the grounds of all residential schools, until proper searches for burial sites can be conducted."
Donate to the Legacy of Hope Foundation: "the Legacy of Hope Foundation (LHF) is a national, Indigenous-led, charitable organization that has been working to promote healing and Reconciliation in Canada for more than 19 years.” Some of the goals of the LHF are to “educate and raise awareness about the history and existing intergenerational impacts of the Residential School System (RSS) and subsequent Sixties Scoop (SS) on Indigenous (First Nations, Inuit, and Métis) Survivors, their descendants, and their communities to promote healing and Reconciliation.”
Donate to the Native Women's Association of Canada: the NWAC is an organization whose goal is to uplift the political voices of Indigenous women, girls, and gender diverse people of Canada. They work on a variety of goals such as employment, human rights, violence prevention, and safety and health.
Sign the National Day of Mourning for those lost at residential schools petition: The goal of this petition is to "ask Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to call for a National Day of Mourning for the lost children of residential school and the 215 lost loved ones found by the Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc community at the Kamloops Indian Residential School, and ask Minister Marc Miller and Minister Carolyn Bennett to support the community in their healing, and care for the lost children of this genocide."
Donate to Orange Shirt Day: this organization works toward fostering Indian Residential School reconciliation, raising awareness across Canada of the continuing intergenerational impacts of the schools, and of the concept of “Every Child Matters”.
The best way to learn more is from Indigenous voices and organizations. These are a few we've found helpful: