Enso Binoojiinh Piitendaagzi – Every Child Matters
*** CONTENT WARNING: This article relates to Residential Schools and some readers may be triggered by the content. To access a 24-hour National Crisis Line, call: 1-866-925-4419. Community Assistance Program (CAP) can be accessed for citizens of the Anishinabek Nation: 1-800-663-1142 ***
September 30, 2021 marks the inaugural National Day for Truth and Reconciliation in Canada. Our offices and facilities will be closed in observance of this new statutory holiday, which was established in response to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Call to Action #80. This date coincides with Orange Shirt Day, an Indigenous-led grassroots movement that began on September 30, 2013.
The National Day for Truth and Reconciliation honours the lost children and survivors of residential schools, their families and communities. The public commemoration of the true history and tragic legacy of residential schools is an important part of increasing awareness to support the reconciliation process.
Miigwech (thank you) to our neighbours in the Municipality of West Nipissing and the City of North Bay for respecting the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation as a statutory holiday and standing in solidarity with our community and Indigenous people across Canada.
How Can You Show Support?
We encourage our friends and allies to learn the truth about the lasting harms caused by residential schools, and to reflect on how we can continue moving forward together meaningfully towards reconciliation.
Wear an Orange Shirt
Wearing an Orange Shirt is an important symbol of respect and remembrance of all Indigenous children who were removed from their families and communities to attend residential schools. It is a small way to show support and solidarity and to honour this painful legacy on September 30th, and beyond.
Orange Shirt Day honours the story of Phyllis (Jack) Webstad from the Stswecem’c Xgat’tem First Nation, who had her orange shirt taken away on her first day at residential school. This became a symbol of the stripping away of language, culture, identity, freedom and self-esteem that generations of Indigenous children experienced in residential schools.
Learn more about the meaning behind Orange Shirt Day and read Phyllis’s story (in her own words) here: orangeshirtday.org/phyllis-story.html
Listen, Learn & Reflect
September 30th is an opportunity to commemorate, educate and reflect on the history and ongoing intergenerational impacts of residential schools. Learning the truth is vital to moving forward towards reconciliation and building a better future together.
It is estimated that over 150,000 First Nations, Inuit and Métis children attended one of the 140 federally run Indian Residential Schools that operated in Canada between 1831 and 1998. 127 children from Nipissing First Nation attended these institutions. The recent discoveries of the remains of Indigenous children on former residential school sites are traumatizing and confirm what so many survivors, their families and communities have known all along.
The advocacy efforts and demands for accountability and reparations from survivors of residential schools over the course of many years resulted in a settlement agreement (2006), apologies from the government (2008), the establishment of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (2008 to 2015) and the creation of the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation (2015).
- A Survivor’s Story with June Commanda (video)
- An Overview of the Indian Residential School System – Anishinabek Nation
- National Day for Truth and Reconciliation
- Summary of the Final Report of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada
- 94 Calls to Action from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada
- Virtual events hosted by The National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation
- Moving Forward as One, September 30 – North Bay Indigenous Friendship Centre
- Downie Wenjack Foundation – Webinar Series
- Indigenous Ally Toolkit – Montreal Indigenous Community NETWORK
- Indigenous Arts, Culture and Heritage – Start Your Learning Journey
The following website contains a listing of events, organizations, resources, and learning opportunities related to National Day for Truth and Reconciliation and Orange Shirt Day to encourage learning throughout the year:
National Day for Truth and Reconciliation | Culture Days
Participate in local events in your municipality or First Nation and/or in virtual events being offered across the country. Nipissing First Nation is hosting a Community Walk on September 30th starting at 9:00am in the Outdoor Rink in Garden Village. View the event flyer and see photos of the event on our Facebook page.
Donate to local, provincial and/or national organizations that:
- Support residential school survivors
- Ensure First Nations children and their families have equitable opportunities
- Advocate for the safety and wellbeing of First Nations children and families
- Provide humanitarian support to Indigenous communities
- Promote reconciliation-based education that raises awareness and commemorates the experiences of survivors
Some options are listed below.
- First Nations Child and Family Caring Society
- True North Aid
- Reconciliation Canada
- Gord Downey and Chanie Wenjack Fund
- Orange Shirt Society (Based in B.C.)
- Indian Residential School Survivors Society (Based in B.C.)
- National Residential School Crisis Line – 1-866-925-4419 (available 24/7)
- Hope for Wellness Help Line – 1-855-242-3310 or connect to the online chat (24 hours a day, 7 days a week for counselling and crisis intervention)
- Mental Health Counselling: https://www.sac-isc.gc.ca/eng/1576441552462/1576441618847#a2
- Call Nipissing First Nation’s Giyak Moseng (The Right Path) Counselling and Prevention Services at 705-753-1375.