National Day for Truth and Reconciliation
September 30th is the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation in Canada, a day to honour the lost children and survivors of residential schools, their families, and communities. Doing our part as Canadians to commemorate this day is an important element of the reconciliation process.
What can I do as an individual Canadian to contribute to reconciliation?
There are many ways we as Canadians can take action to honour the survivors and educate ourselves on the true history of Canada. 1. Learn about Indigenous languages, culture, history, and spiritual beliefs There are countless resources, including free ones, online for individuals to learn. Here are a few to get you started: Government of Canada: Learn more about First Nations, Inuit, and Metis Peoples across Canada This site has links to numerous resources, categorized by First Nations, Inuit, and Metis.
University of Alberta: Indigenous Canada Including a 12-lesson Massive Open Line Course (MOOC) from the Faculty of Native Studies as well as a certificate course and a credit course. FREE.
University of British Columbia: Reconciliation Through Indigenous Education A six-week Massive Open Online Course (MOOC). FREE.
2. Check out books, tv shows, movies, and documentaries by Indigenous authors, actors, and film makers This is by no means a comprehensive list but some great titles to get you started.
By Cherie Dimaline -The Marrow Thieves -Red Rooms The Girl Who Grew a Galaxy
By Elaine Alec -Calling My Spirit Back By Joseph Auguste Merasty - The Education of Augie Merasty By Joan Crate - Black Apple
By Chief Clarence Louie -Rez Rules
-From Where I Stand
-Indian in the Cabinet
By Alanis Obomsawin
(National Film Board of Canada)
-Basket – Lhk’wal’us
-Bill Reid Remembers
-Canada Vignettes:June in Povungnituk – Quebec Arctic
-Canada Vignettes:Wild Rice Harvest Kenora
-Christmas at Moose Factory
-Farming – Lep’cal
-The Federal Court Hearing
-Gene Boy Came Home
-History of Manawan – Part One and Part Two
-Honour to Senator Murray Sinclair
-Incident at Restigouche
And many more!
3. Support an Indigenous business
There are numerous Indigenous entrepreneurs all over Canada that would appreciate your business!
Government of Canada Indigenous Business Directory This site includes a searchable registry.
Alberta: Indigenous Organizations and Service Directory This site includes a guide and also directory organized by category.
Indigenous BC This site includes a list of both online and in-person Indigenous shopping resources in BC. Shop First Nations Includes a directory that’s searchable by category or by province.
4. Charitable giving
There are many registered Indigenous charities with a focus on reconciliation and decolonization, most notably The Orange Shirt Society. We’ve recently posted a blog article with some helpful information on philanthropic giving and some considerations to keep in mind, as well as a helpful quick list of registered charities.
Also keep in mind that charitable giving, while it usually includes monetary donations, can also include your volunteer time, social media engagement, and other ways to lend your support, all of which are appreciated by these organizations.
5. Wear an orange shirt
Lastly, the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation also coincides with Orange Shirt Day, which is a very visible and widely recognized way to show your support for survivors, their family, and their communities, as well as pay respect to those lost to the residential school system. Buying your orange shirt from an Indigenous organization or an organization that donates their proceeds to the Orange Shirt Society ensures your money goes to a cause that aligns with the spirit of reconciliation.
Xyntax Staff (left to right): Brenda and Dharmesh Erica and Sara, Khushboo and Annamaria, Mark, and Mercedes
We hope you will join us in doing our part as Canadians by supporting Indigenous businesses, organizations, and projects, and committing to continued learning in alignment with reconciliation and decolonization.