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National Aboriginal Truth and Reconciliation Day

By Sxwpilemaát Siyám a.k.a. Chief Leanne Joe

On June 21, 2021, the federal government announced the creation a new statutory holiday known as the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation to be recognized on September 30 each year. This day fulfills the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Call-to-Action #80 and will serve as a day of remembrance, reflection, action and learning. Since 2013, September 30 has been known as Orange Shirt Day, a day to recognize the tragic history and long-standing effects of residential schools. 

Truth and Reconciliation Call-to-Action #80: We call upon the federal government, in collaboration with Aboriginal peoples, to establish, as a statutory holiday, a National Day for Truth and Reconciliation 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.  

Each year, September 30 marks the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation. The day honours the children who never returned home and Survivors of residential schools, as well as 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.

This federal statutory holiday was created through legislative amendments made by Parliament.

The annual Orange Shirt Day on September 30th opens the door to global conversation on all aspects of Residential Schools. It is an opportunity to create meaningful discussion about the effects of Residential Schools and the legacy they have left behind. A discussion all Canadians can tune into and create bridges with each other for reconciliation. A day for survivors to be reaffirmed that they matter, and so do those that have been affected. Every Child Matters, even if they are an adult, from now on. On this day of September 30th, we call upon humanity to listen with open ears to the stories of survivors and their families, and to remember those that didn’t make it.

TRUTH AND RECONCILIATION WEEK 2023 – Honouring Survivors – is a national week-long program open to all schools across Canada brought to you by the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation (NCTR). This year, our theme is Honouring Survivors. There are learning opportunities for educators, the public and A live national broadcast that will commemorate National Day for Truth and Reconciliation and Orange Shirt Day on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on September 30, 2023.

There are so many events going on the week of September 30 everywhere. Check out what’s happening near you. Take you children, grandchildren, or host your own event in your school, company, community. There is always an opportunity to (un) learn, connect, build relationship, reconcile, and heal. This is not just one day of learning, this about it becoming a part of our daily lives in our education systems, corporations, businesses, etc. Learning is an action but we also have to commitment to change and transformation in our systems, processes, thought leadership, management, and so much more.

ReconciliACTION includes learning and unlearning…these are actions!

So be willing to hear, listen and hold space for truth telling about the history of Crown Indigenous Relations in Canada using the colonization tools of the Doctrine of Discovery and Terra Nullius (vacant land), genocidal practices since contact including the Indian Act, which is still in existence. Learn to be uncomfortable with these truths, stay with the uncomfortableness so you can truly feel the effects on Indigenous Peoples since settlers came to Canada. Heal through the uncomfortableness, forgive, and move through it as Indigenous People do the same every day. Then become an ally in the injustice of it all. Take action towards justice, equity and inclusion of Indigenous Peoples in every space. Learn about the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and its 94 Calls to Action, UNDRIP, DRIPA (BC), MMMIW&G Calls to Justice, National Indigenous Economic Development Strategy, and so much more.

Follow Sxwpilemaát Siyám a.k.a. Chief Leanne Joe’s work:

Step into the River: An Economic Reconciliation Framework

Women In Leadership Foundation – Indigenous Leadership Circle Final Report

Other Highlights:

Learn More:

Truth and Reconciliation Series - In partnership with Sḵwx̱wú7mesh Úxwumixw. This 5-day series offers daily insights into historical truths while offering paths forward toward reconciliation.

Why the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation isn't just another stat holiday:


Use to find out who’s unceded traditional territory where you work, live and play.


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