The Government of Canada has declared September 30 to be the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, a new national holiday. The Government of BC has not formally made the day a statutory holiday but is commemorating the day and many public services and some private businesses and organizations are closed.
In August, the Board of the BC Humanist Association passed a motion to recognize the day as a holiday and our staff have the day off.
The Day was created to fulfill the 80th Call to Action of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission "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." It falls on September 30 to coincide with Orange Shirt Day, which evolved from the story of Phyllis (Jack) Webstad having her new orange shirt taken from her on her first day at residential school.
As supporters of the Commission's Calls to Action, the BC Humanist Association welcomes the recognition of the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation and encourages all Humanists to use the day to reflect on past, present and future relationships between Canada and Indigenous peoples.
Residential schools, and the larger colonial project in Canada, were built on assumptions that undermine the rights and dignity of Indigenous peoples. As representatives of a worldview built on human dignity, we are continuously thinking about our place in righting those injustices and working toward a more equitable and just future. For example, we built upon our work on prayers in the BC Legislature to look at the state of Indigenous content during that period.
For those looking to learn more today, here are some resources that might help.
- The official site for the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation
- The National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation, including the Commission's final report and Calls to Action
- The Assembly of First Nations Education Toolkit
- Native-Land.ca can help discover whose territories you reside upon
- Orange Shirt Day society
- What to look for when buying Orange Shirt Day merchandise in the Victoria Times Colonist
- CBC Kids YouTube channel Indigenous Content