Today marks Canada’s first National Day for Truth and Reconciliation.
On this day, we recognize the painful history and impacts of the residential school system, particularly in light of the discoveries of unmarked grave sites at former residential school locations this year. It’s a time to forward our reconciliation efforts to build a better future for all Canadians.
Reconciliation is the process of healing relationships between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Canadians, which requires public truth sharing and commemoration that acknowledges and amends past and present harms.
We all have a role to play in the ongoing commitment to Truth and Reconciliation. Special Olympics Canada encourages all athletes, coaches, volunteers, staff and supporters in our community to honour the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, whether through personal reflection or education and awareness activities.
Orange Shirt Day
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 Indian Residential Schools and remembers those who did not. This day relates to the experience of Phyllis Webstad, a Northern Secwpemc (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 tragic legacy of residential schools, and to honour the thousands of Survivors.
Start your learning journey here by exploring more about the rich and diverse cultures, voices, experiences and histories of First Nations, Inuit and Métis Peoples.