The National Day for Truth and Reconciliation is a day for reflection and commemoration, bereavement and support. At the City of Edmonton, it is a day of solidarity with Indigenous staff and communities.
September 30 marks the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, a day designated to honour the survivors of and the children who never returned home from residential schools, as well as their families and communities. Public commemoration of this tragic and painful history and the ongoing impacts of residential schools is a vital component of the reconciliation process.
The National Day for Truth and Reconciliation is Call to Action 80, a federal statutory day of commemoration, as set out by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada in its final report which details 94 calls to action to further reconciliation between Canadians and Indigenous peoples.
There are many ways the City of Edmonton is commemorating the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation.
iHuman Youth Society and the City of Edmonton partnered to create the Every Child Matters crosswalk art at the intersection of 99 Street and 103a Avenue, which will be completed September 21. This symbolic piece is an ongoing reminder that reconciliation in this city is a path we walk every day.
To help recognize the significance of the National Day of Truth and Reconciliation, the City has formed a partnership with iHuman Youth Society to wrap a bus in Indigenous artwork. The bus will be on-site at commemorative events on September 30 and then be in year-round circulation.
On September 30, the city will also fly flags at half mast, the High Level Bridge will be lit in orange, orange ribbons will be placed on fleet vehicles and city staff will be wearing orange shirts and pins to commemorate the significance of the terrible history of Indian Residential Schools and the sad legacy that this has created.
What is Orange Shirt Day?
Orange Shirt Day is a legacy of the St. Joseph Mission residential school commemoration event, held in Williams Lake, BC, in the spring of 2013, that was inspired by Phyllis (Jack) Webstad's story of having her new orange shirt taken away on her first day of school at the Mission. Since then, this day has become an opportunity to keep the discussion on all aspects of residential schools happening annually.
September was chosen as it marks the back-to-school season and also reflects the time in which Indigenous children were taken from their families to be placed in residential schools.
Wearing Orange on September 30
There are many ways to reflect on the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation and Orange Shirt Day and to learn about the impacts of Indian Residential Schools. However, wearing an orange shirt or other orange attire is a respectful way to honour the children, families, communities, survivors, and intergenerational survivors of Canada’s Indian Residential Schools, as well as the Indigenous children that did not survive.