Friday, September 30 is the second annual National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, also known as Orange Shirt Day. The federal holiday was created last year as a day to honour the Indigenous children who never came home and the survivors of residential schools, and to reflect on the ongoing legacy of the cultural genocide carried out by the residential school system. In Nova Scotia, Saturday, October 1 is also Treaty Day and the beginning of Mi'kmaq History Month. The events on the Halifax waterfront organized by the Mi’kmaw Native Friendship Centre this weekend have been postponed due to Hurricane Fiona, but there are still a number of ways you can mark Truth and Reconciliation Day in Kjipuktuk.
We Were Not The Savages book launch
On September 30, the University of King’s College is hosting the launch of the fourth edition of Daniel Paul’s We Were Not the Savages, “a history of the near demise, from a Mi'kmaq perspective, of ancient democratic North American First Nations, caused by the European invasion of the Americas.” Speakers include Daniel Paul, Pamela Palmater and Cathy Martin.
Truth and Reconciliation Day at the former Shubenacadie Indian Residential School site
The Sipekne’katik First Nation is hosting a day of learning and sharing traditional and cultural knowledge on September 30 at the site of the former Shubenacadie Indian Residential School. There will be a smudging ceremony, drums, riverside teachings and a community meal. People are invited to place a flag in the field to commemorate the survivors of the residential school.
Wet’suwet’en Solidarity Rally
On September 30 there will be a rally in support of the Wet’suwet’en First Nation—which has been opposing the construction of the Coastal Gaslink Pipeline through its territory in British Columbia for years—at the Federal Court of Appeal on Hollis Street.
Mi'kmaq History Month Light Show
On Friday night, the Old Memorial Library will be lit up by a Mi'kmaq History Month Light Show, highlighting this year's theme, Mi’kmaw beadwork and the art of beading. There will be speakers and drumming. The presentation pays tribute to four Mi'kmaq elders and residential school survivors: Elder Rita Joe, the first Mi'kmaw published author; Elder Elise Basque, the first liscensed Mi'kmaw public school teacher; Elder Nora Bernard, a class action initiator; and Elder Doug Knockwood, a Mi'kmaw veteran.
Learn the Mi’kmaw name for where you live
Using this interactive map you can find the Mi’kmaw name for the land you live on. (Click "view the map" in the top right corner.)
Read the TRC’s Calls to Action
In 2015, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada released 95 calls to action on how institutions can address the legacy of residential schools.
Watch the NFB’s residential schools collection
The National Film Board has a selection of films about the impact of the residential school system.
Wear an orange shirt
All Canadians are encouraged to wear an orange shirt on September 30 to mark Truth and Reconciliation day. The tradition is inspired by the story of residential school survivor Phyllis Webstad, who had her new orange shirt taken from her on her first day at St. Mary's, a residential school in Misson, BC in 1973. If you don’t already have an orange shirt, make sure to buy one from an Indigenous artist and/or one where the proceeds will go to an organization supporting Indigenous people. The Mi’kmaq Native Friendship Centre has partnered with East Coast Lifestyle this year, and the proceeds from their shirts will go to the centre.