We begin by lifting up the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada’s 94 essential calls to action to redress the legacy of residential schools and, more broadly, to advance the process of Canadian reconciliation across a wide range of issues. We remember the horrific—and continuing—legacy of Canada’s residential schools, which more than 150,000 First Nations, Métis, and Inuit children were forced to attend between the 1870s and 1997. We honour all survivors, their families, and communities. And we firmly support the holiday’s purpose to “ensure that public commemoration of the history and legacy of residential schools remains a vital component of the reconciliation process.”
As we observe this new national holiday, we centre and celebrate the perspectives and power of Indigenous communities. In particular, we honour the urgent and transformative leadership of Indigenous women, including the work of the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls. Every day, your work is confronting centuries of violence and oppression with opportunities for collective healing, justice, and love. We are in awe of your strength, your vision, and your determination.
As we celebrate the rich diversity of Indigenous communities in Canada and around the world, we recognize the common struggle for self-determination that unites them. As part of our core work, we remain deeply committed to supporting organizations fighting for the rights and futures of Indigenous girls, women, and 2SLGBTQQIA people throughout the global South.
Truth and reconciliation will take many years of collective commitment, accountability, and action. Even as we begin to face the truths of the past, we must also commit to naming and confronting the truths of the present—including systemic racism, white supremacy, and anti-Indigenous violence and oppression. We know that a gender-equal future depends fundamentally on dismantling all of these intersecting forms of oppression, and we reaffirm our deepest commitment to building a future of equality, dignity, and respect for all.
Today, guided by this holiday’s purpose, we are sharing resources that shine a spotlight on the legacy of residential schools in Canada and that honour survivors, families, and communities. We know that this list of resources only taps the surface of the wealth of wisdom and insight that can guide all of us now. On social media, we will invite others to share additional resources that inspire them and that offer all of us a chance to back up reflection with action.
While there is still much work ahead, we believe that the first-ever National Day for Truth and Reconciliation can be a meaningful step forward—if each of us commits to education, reflection, and action. Here are just some of the resources that are inspiring and guiding us.
- The Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada’s seminal reports and related resources, including its historic 94 calls to action (one of which was a call for today’s holiday).
- The First Nations Child & Caring Society is making its film, @SpiritBear & Children Make History, available to the public for free all week. Access to the film & resources for children on reconciliation are available here: https://buff.ly/3kCQx2b.
- The Native Women’s Association is a National Indigenous Organization representing the political voice of Indigenous women, girls and gender diverse people in Canada. Pauktuutit is the national non-profit organization representing all Inuit women in Canada.
- The final report of the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls reveals that “persistent and deliberate human and Indigenous rights violations and abuses are the root cause behind Canada’s staggering rates of violence against Indigenous women, girls and 2SLGBTQQIA people.”
- In 2020, the Yellowhead Institute published a special report on the five-year anniversary of the calls to action: Accountability: A 2020 Status Update on Reconciliation
- One Day’s Pay invites citizens, organizations, businesses, and communities to act by giving one day’s pay (or an amount of their choice) to Indigenous-led projects, movements, organizations and nations. Its website also offers a social media toolkit and an array of helpful learning resources.
- The annual Orange Shirt Day on September 30th works to expand and lead a global conversation on all aspects of Residential Schools.
- The Indian Residential School Survivor Society has a twenty-year history of providing services to Indian Residential School Survivors.
- The National Association of Friendship Centres is a network of over 100 Friendship Centres and Provincial/Territorial Associations. These associations make up part of the Friendship Centre Movement: Canada’s most significant national network of self-determined Indigenous owned and operated civil society community hubs.
- The Circle seeks to transform philanthropy and contribute to positive change between Philanthropy and Indigenous communities by creating spaces of learning, innovation, relationship-building, co-creation, and activation.
- The podcast Missing and Murdered: Finding Cleo examines the history of a young Cree girl who was apprehended by child welfare workers in Saskatchewan in the 1970’s.
- Pamela Palmater’s helpful compilation of public findings and reports contains “significant historical and current fact-based information, findings and recommendations about how to address the gross injustices faced by Indigenous peoples.”
- Since Monday, the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation has been commemorating Truth and Reconciliation Week with events and educational opportunities.