A Guide to the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation

September 21, 2022

The Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada developed 94 Calls to Action after hearing the stories from survivors and their families about the impacts of “Indian Residential School.” Call to Action 80, “[C]alls upon the federal government in collaboration with Indigenous peoples to establish a statutory holiday for Truth and Reconciliation to honour Indian Residential School survivors, their families, and communities and to ensure the public commemoration of history and legacy of residential schools remains a vital component of the reconciliation process.”

Since 2013, Orange Shirt Day has been observed by Indigenous peoples and their allies to honour the Indigenous children who were sent to residential schools in Canada. In 2021, the federal government passed legislative amendments that adhered to Call to Action 80, to establish September 30 as an annual federal statutory day of commemoration known as the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation.

Participate on Sept. 30

Sept. 30 is meant to be a day of reflection as well as a day of action. If you have not yet completed the Path (Law Society of Alberta), we encourage you to use this day to do so. For most lawyers, the Oct. 20 deadline is fast approaching. There are also other resources available and events taking place for those seeking to learn more about the history and the impacts of Indian Residential Schools. Find out more about these resources and events below.

Allyship is another way to show action towards reconciliation. The following are some suggestions on how to be a good ally to Indigenous peoples.

  • Complete the Path (Law Society of Alberta) if you have not done so yet. For most lawyers, the Oct. 20 deadline is fast approaching.
  • Learn which Treaty territory or Métis Region you live and work on.
  • View the Canadian Encyclopedia interactive map that indicates the location of many residential schools in Canada.
  • Explore Indigenous artists and purchase their works.
  • Read books, poetry, or graphic novels by Indigenous people.
  • Take a more advanced course on Indigenous peoples and history. This free 12-lesson Massive Open Online Course is provided by the University of Alberta Faculty of Native Studies and explores different histories and contemporary perspectives of Indigenous peoples in Canada.
  • Engage in virtual or in-person events for Truth and Reconciliation Day.
  • Wear an orange shirt to show support on September 30. Orange shirts that donate their proceeds to legitimate charities can be found at Walmart, Moonstone Creations and online.
  • Discover the Witness Blanket –  a large-scale work of art and collaborative project involving Carey Newman, the Canadian Museum for Human Rights, Media One and Animikii Indigenous Technology. It contains hundreds of items reclaimed from residential schools, churches, government buildings and traditional and cultural structures from across Canada.

Events in Calgary:

Events in Edmonton:

Virtual Events:

  • Monkey Beach: Film Screening and Discussion – Monkey Beach is a feature film adapting the novel by Eden Robinson, a member of the Haisla and Heiltsuk First Nations in B.C. The novel draws the reader deep into a traditional world, a hidden universe of premonition, pain and power during a time when tragedy strikes a West Coast Indigenous community. This story explores the healing journey steeped in intergenerational trauma as the main character discovers deep connections with her ancestral world and spiritual beliefs. On September 30, 2022 6:30-9 p.m. the Calgary Public Library will present the film and a discussion in partnership with UCalgary’s Office of Indigenous Engagement, with director Loretta Todd and actors Tina Lameman and Nathaniel Arcand. Event is hosted by Judy Aldous from CBC’s Alberta at Noon, with opening prayer by Siksika Elder Adrian Wolfleg and reflective remarks from Dr. Michael Hart, UCalgary’s Vice-Provost (Indigenous Engagement).
  • Panel Discussion: Indigenous Perspectives on the Pope’s Apology – hosted by the Downie & Wenjack Fund. The papal visit in July 2022 resulted in mixed emotions for many Indigenous Peoples throughout the country. Join us on September 30 at 1 p.m. EST to hear directly from those who were involved in and affected by the Pope’s visit. Learn more about what the apology means to those impacted by residential schools, its effects on reconciliation, and how this will shape Indigenous communities and intergenerational relationships across Turtle Island.

Government Resources:

  • Government of Canada – Online resources and events page. Keep up to date with events by visiting this page regularly.
  • Government of Alberta – Online resources, including what action has been taking by the Government of Alberta in regards to reconciliation efforts. Continue to check the Government of Alberta’s Orange Shirt Event page for an update on T&R Day 2022.