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A guide to National Day for Truth and Reconciliation and Orange Shirt Day

Unified 2024

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Sep 29, 2021

What is National Day for Truth and Reconciliation?

In June, the federal government of Canada announced the creation a new statutory holiday known as the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation to be recognized on September 30 each year. The National Day for Truth and Reconciliation fulfills the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Call-to-Action #80 and will serve as a day of remembrance, reflection, action and learning.

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.

What is Orange Shirt Day?

September 30 is also Orange Shirt Day, a day to recognize the tragic history and long-standing effects of residential schools.     

Orange Shirt Day is a legacy of the St. Joseph Mission (SJM) Residential School (1891-1981) Commemoration Project and Reunion events that took place in Williams Lake, BC, Canada, in May 2013.

The events were designed to commemorate the residential school experience, to witness and honour the healing journey of the survivors and their families, and to commit to the ongoing process of reconciliation.

Join the Conversation

- Follow the hashtags #reconciliACTION, #OrangeShirtDay and #EveryChildMatters.

- Purchase an Orange shirt from an Indigenous owned organization to support local Indigenous communities, artists and designers. Wear your Orange shirt on September 30th to honour Survivors of residential school and those who never returned home.

- Attend National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation programming or an event in your local community.

Learn More

The National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation is the permanent archive for the statements, documents and other materials the Commission gathered, and its library and collections are the foundation for ongoing learning and research.

In order to redress the legacy of residential schools and advance the process of Canadian reconciliation, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada made 94 calls to action.

Visit the Orange Shirt Society to learn more about the significance of Orange Shirt Day.

The Gord Downie & Chanie Wenjack Fund aims to build cultural understanding and create a path toward reconciliation between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples.

The Canadian Roots Exchange provides gatherings, workshops, and leadership training to bring together youth in cities, towns, and traditional territories across Canada in an effort to break down stereotypes, open a dialogue, and build honest relationships between Indigenous and non-Indigenous people living on this land.

What are the Truth and Reconciliation Principles of Canada?

The Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada believes that for Canada to flourish in the 21st century, reconciliation between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Canada follows these principles.


What are the Sport and Reconciliation Calls to Action?

To redress the legacy of residential schools and advance the process of Canadian reconciliation, 94 calls to action were outlined by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada.

Included were the following five Sport and Reconciliation Calls to Action:

87. We call upon all levels of government, in collaboration with Aboriginal peoples, sports halls of fame, and other relevant organizations, to provide public education that tells the national story of Aboriginal athletes in history. 

88. We call upon all levels of government to take action to ensure long-term Aboriginal athlete development and growth, and continued support for the North American Indigenous Games, including funding to host the games and for provincial and territorial team preparation and travel. 

89. We call upon the federal government to amend the Physical Activity and Sport Act to support reconciliation by ensuring that policies to promote physical activity as a fundamental element of health and well-being, reduce barriers to sports participation, increase the pursuit of excellence in sport, and build capacity in the Canadian sport system, are inclusive of Aboriginal peoples. 

90. We call upon the federal government to ensure that national sports policies, programs, and initiatives are inclusive of Aboriginal peoples, including, but not limited to, establishing: 

i. In collaboration with provincial and territorial governments, stable funding for, and access to, community sports programs that reflect the diverse cultures and traditional sporting activities of Aboriginal peoples. 

ii. An elite athlete development program for Aboriginal athletes.

iii. Programs for coaches, trainers, and sports officials that are culturally relevant for Aboriginal peoples. iv. Anti-racism awareness and training programs.

91. We call upon the officials and host countries of international sporting events such as the Olympics, Pan Am, and Commonwealth games to ensure that Indigenous peoples’ territorial protocols are respected, and local Indigenous communities are engaged in all aspects of planning and participating in such events.