In June of this year, the federal government passed legislation to mark September 30, 2021 as a National Day for Truth and Reconciliation.
The day has been created to give everyone an opportunity to recognize and commemorate the legacy of residential schools, which more than 150,000 First Nations, Metis and Inuit children were forced to attend between the 1870s and 1997. It was originally proposed in 2015 by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada, which under Action 80, called upon the federal government, in collaboration with Aboriginal peoples, to establish a statutory holiday to “honour Survivors, their families, and communities, and ensure that public commemoration of the history and legacy of residential schools remains a vital component of the reconciliation process.”
September 30 has been observed since 2013 as Orange Shirt Day, a movement to recognize the colonial legacy of residential schools and commit to the ongoing process of reconciliation. Orange Shirt Day recalls the experience of residential school Survivor Phyllis Webstad, who at six, was stripped of her shiny new orange shirt on her first day attending the St. Joseph Mission Residential School near Williams Lake, BC. The date of September 30 was chosen because it was the time of year when Indigenous children were removed from their families and forced to attend residential schools.
ESS is committed to recognizing and commemorating the legacy of the residential schools.
ESS is encouraging all its staff to honour the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation by:
- Wearing an orange shirt to show your support for the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation Day on September 30;
- Posting about the day by using the hashtag #OrangeShirtDay on social media. We welcome you to tag ESS in your post (Instagram & Twitter: @ess_seniors, Facebook: @esssupportservices);
- Personal reflection, education and participation in awareness activities.
Learnings & Resources
- Residential Schools (National Film Board of Canada)
- Orange Shirt Day
- Books 48 Books by indigenous writers to read to understand residential schools – CBC News
Alison Coke, CEO
ESS Support Services