September 30, 2021 marks the first National Day for Truth and Reconciliation. Creating such a federal holiday was one of the 94 calls to action by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada in 2015. We use our collective voice to call on all parties to continue to implement these calls to action as we navigate this journey of reconciliation together.

This federal statuary holiday coincides with Orange Shirt Day, an Indigenous-led grassroots commemoration honouring all impacted by the residential school system in Canada.

We wear orange today to acknowledge all who have been affected by – and lost to – violence against Indigenous peoples and harmed by our colonial history and ongoing practices.

Today, and every day, we strive to repair relationships with each other as we acknowledge the many tragedies Indigenous people across this country have endured – particularly through the residential school system. Between the 1830s and 1990s, approximately 150,000 Indigenous children in Canada were forcibly removed from their families and sent away to residential schools where they were stripped of their traditional languages, clothing, and culture, and where they endured frequent violence and abuse; it is estimated that 6,000 children died in residential schools. The last federally funded school closed in 1996, only 25 years ago.

Indigenous communities across Turtle Island continue to experience intergenerational trauma resulting from these experiences at the hands of Canada’s governments and church officials.

For the children lost. For the parents who lost children. For the survivors who overcame. For those who are struggling.

We are all Treaty people. We must do better.

Our offices will be closed on September 30. We invite you to join us in reflecting and learning on this important day.

Indian Residential School Survivors and Family (24-hour crisis line): 1-866-925-4419