5 things you need to know about National Day for Truth and Reconciliation

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September 30th is a special day. We call it the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation. Here are some facts about this day:

  1. It is a federal holiday

    If you work for the federal government, you don’t have to work on this day. Schools and some government offices will be closed too.

  2. Why do we have this day?

    We think about the Indigenous children who experienced residential schools on this day. These schools were for First Nations, Metis, and Inuit children. About 150,000 children went to these schools. This day is also a good time to learn about the past of Indigenous People.

  3. It is part of the 94 Calls to Action

    The Truth and Reconciliation Commission made the Calls to Action. They made them to help people who stayed in the residential schools and their families to heal. The National Day for Truth and Reconciliation comes from Call to Action #80.

  4. This day is also called Orange Shirt Day

    Orange Shirt Day is comes from the story of Phyllis Webstad. On her first day at the residential school, they took all her things. This included a new orange shirt that her grandmother gave her. This sad story tells us how Indigenous children were treated at these schools. Orange Shirt Day is a day to say that “Every child matters.”

    Phyllis Webstad Orange Shirt Day Presentation

  5. Not everyone will have a day off

    It is a day off in BC, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, the Northwest Territories, Yukon, and Nunavut. Manitoba has also made it a general holiday as of December 7, 2023. But, it is not a day off in Ontario, Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Quebec. But, people who work for the public service in Ontario, Saskatchewan, and Alberta can choose to have a day off.

How will you spend National Truth and Reconciliation Day?
Article updated April 4, 2024.
Sources: Federal Statutory holiday: National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, Government of Canada; National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, Government of Canada; The Story of Orange Shirt Day, Orange Shirt Day.org; Winnipeg EPC votes to recognize National Day of Truth and Reconciliation, Sam Thompson, Global News; and National day for Truth and Reconciliation in Canada 2021, Office Holidays. Accessed September 23, 2021.

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Community Resources

Read 16 resources to help settlers understand and advance Indigenous reconciliation by Lindsay Purchase (posted on Charity Village).

Check out Winnipeg Public Library’s reading list (and other resources) on residential schools.

Go to Beyond 94 by CBC. It watches the activities that governments, communities, and faith groups are doing to follow the 94 Calls to Action.

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