National Day for Truth and Reconciliation/Orange Shirt Day

Western University is located on Haudenosaunee, Anishinaabe, Lunaape and Chonnonton territories, in connection with the Sombra and London Township Treaties. Southwestern Ontario is also part of the Dish with One Spoon wampum covenant between the Haudenosaunee and Anishinaabe. It is important to know the Treaties and Indigenous Nations where you live, as without Treaties with Indigenous Peoples, Canada could not have come to be. September 30th is recognized as the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation and Orange Shirt Day. 

What is the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation?

September 30, 2021 marks the first National Day for Truth and Reconciliation. The day honours the lost children and survivors of residential schools, their families and communities. Public commemoration of the tragic and painful history and ongoing impacts of residential schools is a vital component of the reconciliation process. The creation of this federal statutory holiday was through legislative amendments made by Parliament. On June 3, 2021, Bill C-5, An Act to amend the Bills of Exchange Act, the Interpretation Act and the Canada Labour Code (National Day for Truth and Reconciliation) received Royal Assent. 

What is Orange Shirt Day?

Orange Shirt Day is an Indigenous-led grassroots commemorative day that honours the children who survived Indian Residential Schools and remembers those who did not. This day relates to the experience of Phyllis Webstad, a Northern Secwpemc (Shuswap) from the Stswecem'c Xgat'tem First Nation, on her first day of school, where she arrived dressed in a new orange shirt, which was taken from her. It is now a symbol of the stripping away of culture, freedom and self-esteem experienced by Indigenous children over generations. 

Here is a video of Phyllis Webstad discussing Orange Shirt Day.

How can I participate on September 30? 

Check out the resources below and consider how you might participate on September 30 on campus, in London, or in your own community this year! 

Wear Orange!  

On September 30, we encourage all Canadians to wear orange to raise awareness of the very tragic legacy of residential schools, and to honour the thousands of survivors.  

Engage in Truth and Reconciliation 

Western’s Office of Indigenous Initiatives has compiled a small list of resources and actions you can do right now to engage in, and promote, Truth and Reconciliation work. Once you have reviewed any of these items, consider sharing and discussing with colleagues, friends, family and on social media. Review their 12 Ways to Engage in Truth and Reconciliation at Western.  

Connect on Campus 

Check out Western’s Office of Indigenous Initiatives’ website for their events list of opportunities to commemorate the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation on September 30.  

References 

Government of Canada, National Day for Truth and Reconciliation: https://www.canada.ca/en/canadian-heritage/campaigns/national-day-truth-reconciliation.html  

Government of Canada, National Indigenous History Month: https://www.rcaanc-cirnac.gc.ca/eng/1466616436543/1534874922512  

Orange Shirt Society: https://www.orangeshirtday.org 

Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada: Calls to Action: http://trc.ca/assets/pdf/Calls_to_Action_English2.pdf  

The History of Indigenous Peoples in Canada

Where can I learn more about the history of Indigenous peoples in Canada? 

 

First Nations History 

Indigenous history from the perspectives of First Nations in Canada. 

 

Métis History 

Indigenous history from the perspectives of Métis in Canada. 

 

Inuit History 

Indigenous history from the perspectives of Inuit in Canada. 

 

Canadian Museum of History: First Peoples of Canada 

This virtual exhibition looks at some facets of the history of Indigenous Peoples in Canada, underlining their reclamation of cultures and languages and indicating the wealth of their modern-day contributions. It is based largely on information and artifacts presented in the First Peoples Hall of the Canadian Museum of Civilization. Neither pretends to be a comprehensive presentation of the history of all the Native groups in Canada. Rather, aspects of cultural identity are explored through four themes: the diversity of Indigenous cultural expression; how Indigenous Peoples have contributed to present-day Canada; the adaptation of traditional lifestyles to different environments across Canada; and the impact of the arrival and settlement of Europeans over the last 500 years. 

 

The Royal Proclamation of 1763 

The Royal Proclamation of 1763 played an important role in laying the foundation for First Nation rights, the treaty-making process and the relationship between First Nations and the Crown. 

 

Treaties & Agreements 

Learn about historic and modern Treaties in Canada, treaty rights and the treaty relationship. 

 

Indigenous Contributions to the War of 1812 

First Nations warriors and Métis fighters played important roles defending British territories in the War of 1812 against invading American forces. 

 

Indigenous Veterans 

Commemorating Indigenous Peoples’ contributions to the First and Second World Wars, the Korean War and during the post-war years. 

 

Residential Schools 

Over 150,000 Indigenous children were removed and separated from their families and communities to attend residential schools. Recently, a mass grave at the site of a Residential School in Kamloops uncovered the bodies of 215 children. While most of the 139 Residential Schools ceased to operate by the mid-1970s, the last federally run school closed in 1996. In May 2006, the Indian Residential School Settlement Agreement was approved by all parties to the Agreement. The implementation of the Settlement Agreement began in September 2007 with the aim of bringing a fair and lasting resolution to the legacy of Residential Schools. 

 

Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada: Calls to Action 

In order to redress the legacy of Indian Residential Schools and advance the process of Canadian reconciliation, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission made a list of Calls to Action. 

 

Indigenous Peoples Day 

June 21 is National Indigenous Peoples Day. This is a day for all Canadians to recognize and celebrate the unique heritage, diverse cultures and outstanding contributions of First NationsInuit and Métis peoples. The Canadian Constitution recognizes these three groups as Aboriginal peoples, also known as Indigenous peoples. 

 

Although these groups share many similarities, they each have their own distinct heritage, language, cultural practices and spiritual beliefs. 

 

In consultation with Indigenous organizations, the Government of Canada chose June 21, the summer solstice, for National Aboriginal Day, now known as National Indigenous Peoples Day. For generations, many Indigenous Peoples and communities have celebrated their cultures and heritage on or near this day due to the significance of the summer solstice as the longest day of the year. 

Indigenous Authors & Themes

Discover Indigenous Authors & Themes at the Book Store

Find the whole collection by visiting The Book Store! 

 21 Things You May Not Know About The Indian Act: Helping Canadians Make Reconciliation with Indigenous Peoples a Reality By: Bob Joseph 

Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge, and the Teachings of Plants By: Robin Wall Kimmerer 

Call Me Indian: From the Trauma of Residential School to Becoming the NHL’s first Treaty Indigenous Player By: Fred Sasakamoose 

Five Little Indians By: Michelle Good 

From The Ashes By: Jesse Thistle 

Highway of Tears By: Jessica McDiarmid 

Indigenous Relations: Insights, Tips & Suggestions to make Reconciliation a Reality By: Bob Joseph 

Johnny Appleseed By: Joshua Whitehead 

Marrow Thieves By: Cherie Dimaline 

A Mind Spread Out On The Ground By: Alicia Elliott 

One Drum: Stories and Ceremoines for a Planet By: Richard Wagamese  

The Only Good Indians By: Stephen Graham Jones 

Orange Shirt Day: September 30th By: Orange Shirt Society 

Phyllis’s Orange Shirt By: Phyllis Webstad 

Red River Girl: The Life and Death of Tina Fontaine By: Joanna Jolly 

Sand Talk: How Indigenous Thinking Can Save the World By: Tyson Yunkaporta 

Seven Fallen Feathers: Racism, Death, and Hard Truths in a Northern City By: Tanya Talaga 

The Sharing Circle: Stories about First Nations Culture By: Theresa Meuse-Dallien 

Indigenous-Owned Businesses

Visit a Local Indigenous-Owned Shop or Business
Atlohsa Gifts109-343 Richmond Street 

Shop unique Indigenous gifts from handcrafted local artisans to Pendleton, Manitobah Mukluks and more. 

 

Bear’s Den Native Crafts: 1712 Dundas Street 

Bear’s Den Native Crafts is owned and operated by Daniel N. Pelletier (Megisa Magawa Tick) and his family. We carry many unique Native Crafts, Bear & Minigan Salve, Jewllery, Sage & Sweetgrass, Animal Skulls, Furs, Moccasins and much more.  

 

N’Amerind Friendship Centre: 260 Colborne St 

The N’Amerind Friendship Centre is a non-profit organization committed to the promotion of physical, intellectual, emotional and spiritual well-being of native people and in particular, urban native people. 

The commitment is realized through the implementation of culturally relevant programs aimed at social recreational and educational needs; at developing leadership, at increasing awareness levels of native heritage, establishing resources for community development and in promoting the development of urban aboriginal self-governing institutions. 

 

OtsitsidesignsOneida Nation of the Thames 

Rebecca Doxtator’s intricate work brings a mix of traditional beadwork style with a pop culture twist.