Trigger Warning: The content in this post may trigger unpleasant feelings or thoughts of past abuse. This information is intended to educate non-Indigenous communities about the trauma Canada’s residential school system has inflicted upon Indigenous peoples.
First Nations, Inuit, and Metis peoples who may require emotional support can contact the 24-Hour KUU-US Crisis Line at 1-800-588-8717.
In December 2015, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada released its final report on the horrors of the residential school system across what is colonially referred to as Canada.
As outlined in the report, residential schools were, “created for the purpose of separating Aboriginal children from their families, in order to minimize and weaken family ties and cultural linkages, and to indoctrinate children into a new culture – the culture of the legally dominant Euro-Christian Canadian society, led by Canada’s first prime minister, Sir John A. Macdonald.”
For more than 100 years, generations of Indigenous children endured residential school. This trauma continues to be felt within Indigenous families and communities across the country.
Call to Action #80
The Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s final report contains 94 recommendations, or calls to action, intended, “to redress the legacy of residential schools and advance the process of Canadian reconciliation.”
Call to action number 80 calls upon the federal government, in collaboration with Indigenous 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.”
On this first National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, FarmFolk CityFolk’s team will spend time educating ourselves and discussing personal contributions towards reconciliation. We recognize that, as a settler majority organization, we have a tremendous amount of responsibility to learn, support, and amplify Indigenous voices, stories, and projects.
We recognize our obligation to continue this work throughout the year to take action in redressing more than a century of injustices. As a day of commemoration, we acknowledge the growing number of unmarked graves that continue to be discovered at sites of former residential schools across the country. Our deepest condolences go out to the communities and loved ones impacted by the residential school system.
We encourage others to read the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s final report in its entirety. A non-comprehensive list of additional resources can be found below.
The History of September 30th: 2013 – 2021
Until 2021, September 30th has recently been known as Orange Shirt Day. The Orange Shirt Society, a non-profit organization based in Williams Lake, BC, began Orange Shirt Day in 2013 as a way to help create awareness and recognition of the intergenerational impacts of residential schools on Indigenous peoples and communities.
The date was chosen because it is the time of year Indigenous children were taken from their homes to residential schools. This day creates an opportunity for meaningful discussion about the continued effects and legacy of residential schools on Indigenous peoples.
The day’s name came from the story of Phyllis (Jack) Webstad. At the age of six on her first day at residential school, her new orange shirt that was bought by her grandmother was taken from her by school administrators.
Donations to the Orange Shirt Society help, in part, foster residential school reconciliation and raise awareness about the continued intergenerational impacts of the residential school system.
Learn more about the Orange Shirt Society and donate to their work through this link.