Today is the Day for Truth and Reconciliation

September 30th is the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation in Canada. The day honours the lost children and Survivors of residential schools, their families and communities. Public commemoration of the tragic and painful history as well as the recognition of the ongoing impacts of residential schools is a vital component of the reconciliation process.

Since 2013, September 30th has also been Orange Shirt Day, which is an Indigenous-led commemorative day to honour the children who were sent to Indian Residential Schools and stripped of their culture and freedom. September 30th was chosen to honour the experience of Phyllis Webstad, a Northern Secwepemc (Shuswap) from the Stswecem’c Xgat’tem First Nation who, on her first day of school, had her new orange shirt taken from her. 

It is a day to engage in commemorative events, to make space for meaningful conversation, and to reflect upon how we may support reconciliation efforts individually, as organizations, and as a profession. 

Let’s listen to the teachings of Indigenous Elders, colleagues, and organizations. Let’s read the official reports. Let’s learn from the experiences of colleagues working in archives as they reflect on our institutional histories and our current relationships with Indigenous communities. Some of these resources are shared below. 

Many thanks to the Archives Association of Ontario for providing this text for our historical society to share. Check out their ‘Towards Truth and Reconciliation’ resource page