September 30 is the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation in Canada – a day where we honour the survivors and those who never returned home from residential schools, as well as their families and communities. As an organization whose values are centered around social justice, Équité Association will be devoting this day to learning more about Indigenous history in Canada, treaties, land claims, and the heart-breaking residential school system.
We have prepared a list of resources that we believe will help us gain a deeper understanding of what this day means. We hope you will join us in this effort to self-educate.
Call to Action 80
From 1831 until 1998, there were 140 residential schools in Canada. Survivors have advocated for recognition and reparations – demanding accountability for the intergenerational harm that residential schools have caused Indigenous families and communities. The Truth and Reconciliation Commission released its report on residential schools more than five years ago. Canada officially recognized September 30 as the National Day for Truth and Reconciliationin 2021, a direct response to Call to Action 80 of the report.
Every Child Matters: Truth – Act One from the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation. Created in 2020, this recorded event provides an opportunity to learn first-hand from Residential School Survivors, Elders, Knowledge Keepers, artists and leaders from nations and cultures across the country.
Birth of a Family, a CBC documentary about siblings taken during the infamous Sixties Scoop, reconnecting for the first time.
Mary Two-Axe Earley: I Am Indian Again by the National Film Board. This follows a woman who challenges sex discrimination against First Nations women embedded in Canada’s Indian Act and became a key figure in Canada’s women’s rights movement.
Indigenous Canada from the University of Alberta, Faculty of Native Studies, that explores Indigenous histories and contemporary issues in Canada.
Aboriginal Worldviews and Education, from the University of Toronto, explores historical, social, and political issues in Aboriginal education; terminology; cultural, spiritual and philosophical themes in Aboriginal worldviews.
Reconciliation Through Indigenous Education, by the University of British Columbia, helps build competence and the capacity to engage within relationships with Indigenous peoples based on intercultural understanding, empathy, and respect.
We encourage you to take the time to read works by Indigenous authors as we continue to learn more on our journey toward truth and reconciliation.Here are a few recommendations:
A Mind Spread Out on the Ground by Alicia Elliott
Unreconciled: Family, Truth, and Indigenous Resistance byJesse Wente
On/Me is a poetry collection by Francine Cunningham
Five Little Indians by Michelle Good
Shop and Support
September 30 is also Orange Shirt Day, where we can all show our support for truth and reconciliation by purchasing an orange shirt from Indigenous artists and business owners, or retailers that use the proceeds to help support Indigenous communities. Here are a few suggestions:
Resist Clothing Company is an urbanized native clothing brand, based in Tkaronto, Turtle Island - Treaty 13 Territory.
Moonstone Creation is a vibrant hub for Indigenous art in Calgary and beyond
Red Rebel Armour’s vision is simple: to use the sales made from Indigenous-made streetwear to help reduce the likelihood of someone recommitting criminal behaviour by creating employment opportunities.
Based in Vancouver, Section 35 is an Indigenous-owned streetwear brand founded by Justin Louis, a member of the Samson Cree Nation.
Using land acknowledgments show gratitude to the Indigenous people who have lived and worked on this land historically and presently. Here are a couple of websites to help you get started:
We hope you find the above resources helpful. These actions are important steps towards honouring Canada’s Indigenous people, understanding the past, and building a better tomorrow.