September 30, 2021 marks the first National Day for Truth and Reconciliation. The day honours the lost children and Survivors of residential schools, their families and communities. Public commemoration of the tragic and painful history and ongoing impacts of residential schools is a vital component of the reconciliation process.
The creation of this federal statutory holiday was through legislative amendments made by Parliament. On June 3, 2021, Bill C-5, An Act to amend the Bills of Exchange Act, the Interpretation Act and the Canada Labour Code (National Day for Truth and Reconciliation) received Royal Assent. Both the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation and Orange Shirt Day take place on September 30.
Orange Shirt Day is an Indigenous-led grassroots commemorative day that honours the children who survived residential schools and remembers those who did not. This day relates to the experience of Phyllis Webstad, a Northern Secwepemc (Shuswap) from the Stswecem’c Xgat’tem First Nation, on her first day of school, where she arrived dressed in a new orange shirt, which was taken from her. It is now a symbol of the stripping away of culture, freedom and self-esteem experienced by Indigenous children over generations.
On September 30, we encourage all Canadians to wear orange to raise awareness of the very tragic legacy of residential schools, and to honour the thousands of Survivors.
1290 Pabineau Falls Road, Pabineau First Nation, NB E2A 7M3 office: 506 548-9211 fax: 506 545-6968