17 Sep ABOUT National Day for Truth and Reconciliation
A guide from the SLCC team
What is National Day for Truth and Reconciliation?
Thursday, September 30th is now a federal statutory holiday to recognize the tragic history and ongoing legacy of residential schools. Everyone is encouraged to reflect on the intergenerational harm that residential schools have caused Indigenous families and communities, and to honour those who have been affected by this injustice.
As a federal statutory holiday, it is a designated paid holiday for federally regulated employees. That means people who work for the federal government or in workplaces such as banks, the post office or Via Rail are entitled to have the day off, or receive holiday pay if they do work. Provinces decide individually whether to recognize federal holidays.
At the SLCC, we treat both September 30th and June 21st (National Indigenous Peoples Day) as statutory holidays, and compensate staff accordingly.
What about Orange Shirt Day?
September 30th is still Orange Shirt Day – and is part of the reason this day was chosen for the new federal stat day. Orange Shirt Day also reflects on and remembers victims of residential schools. A young girl named Phyllis (Jack) Webstad had her new orange shirt taken away on her first day of school. Her grandmother had just bought it for her and Phyllis was very excited to show it off. It was never given back. We wear orange to acknowledge the children that lost many things, including their lives.
What is Truth and Reconciliation?
After a class-action lawsuit with the government of Canada, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission was formed as a means of reckoning with the devastating legacy of forced assimilation and abuse left by the residential school system. From 2008 to 2014, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission heard stories from thousands of residential school survivors. In June 2015, the commission released a report based on those hearings. From that came the 94 Calls to Action: individual instructions to guide governments, communities and faith groups down the road to reconciliation. Call to action #80: Establish a National Day for Truth and Reconciliation as a statutory holiday.
Read about the calls to action here. Track the status of each action here.
What is happening at the Squamish Lil’wat Cultural Centre on September 30th?
Whenever you are in Whistler, we invite you to make the Skwxwú7mesh Lilwat7úl Cultural Centre in Whistler part of your journey towards understanding the Frist People of the Sea to Sky. Reflect on our history. Connect to the land.
September 30th will be a day of reflection and truth for the staff and visitors to the SLCC. Survivors from residential schools will speak. The Warrior song will be sung. Stories will be told. A seven-foot totem will be unveiled, commemorating the children of residential schools, and those missing and buried in unmarked graves.
Be gentle in your journey, for the SLCC Ambassadors these truths are about themselves and their loved ones, and may be too fragile to surface.
Whether you visit us on September 30th, or come through our doors this week, we are here to welcome you. We have a story to tell.
How can I learn more?
Watch: Whistler 101: Indigenous Peoples
Read: Land Acknowledgements in Whistler
Learn: Track progress on the 94 Calls to Action
Listen: The Hon. Murray Sinclair shares his thoughts on reconciliation
Participate: National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation
Grow: Learn with Squamish Nation decolonizing leader, Ta7talíya Michelle Nahanee
Play: Download the SLCC “Songs of our Nations” album and play it on September 30th
Support: Support and learn about the Indian Residential School Society, Support the SLCC and our mission
I work in social media, how can I support the day?
Follow us at @slccwhistler. Share our stories for the day and the cultural learning posted throughout the year. Follow hashtags that bring the conversation to the forefront:
Hashtags to use and follow:
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[…] year, September 30th marks the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, as well as Orange Shirt Day, and offers time to recognize and reflect on the tragedies and […]