Events across Waterloo Region mark National Day for Truth and Reconciliation3 min readReading Time: 3 minutes
The banner art above is by Luke Swinson.
What is the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation?
The Region of Waterloo recognizes National Day for Truth and Reconciliation on Saturday, Sept. 30. On this date, people across Canada take the time to reflect, remember and honour those impacted by Canada’s residential school system – the children who never returned home, their families and their communities.
Also known as Orange Shirt Day, on Sep. 30 people can wear orange to honour the healing journey of residential school survivors, their families and their communities. Woven through the message of the day is remembrance that Every Child Matters.
Learn more about Orange Shirt Day, which was inspired by the experience of a girl in a B.C. residential school in 1973.
Waterloo Region events for National Day for Truth and Reconciliation
There are many opportunities across the region to gather with others and honour the lost children and survivors of residential schools.
- University of Waterloo. Friday, September 29, 2023, 7:00 am to 1:30 pm at BC Matthews Hall Green. Various events are planned throughout the date by the university’s Indigenous Relations Office.
- Crow Shield Lodge: Honoring the Children Sacred Fire (In-person and virtual). Saturday, September 30, 2023, 9:00 am to 1:00 pm at 10 Huron Road, Kitchener. Learn more or register here.
- Healing of the Seven Generations Orange Shirt Day Walk. Saturday, September 30, 2023: 10:00 am at 300 Frederick St, Kitchener. The walk will proceed to Victoria Park’s clock tower, followed by speakers and drummers. More information here.
- Anishnabeg Outreach: Edible Forest Planting. Saturday, September 30, 2023, 10:00 am to 1:00 pm at 1058 Spitzig Rd, Breslau. Planting hosted by Sustainable Waterloo Region, as well as a barbeque social and keynote speech. More information here.
- “An Ode To My Ancestors” Book Launch and Poetry Reading with Sarah Siembida. Saturday, September 30, 2023, 12:00 pm to 4:00 pm at McDougall Cottage Historic Site, 89 Grand Avenue S, Cambridge. This is a soft book launch, reading, and signing featuring Sarah Siembida, the Inaugural Poet Laureate of Smart Waterloo Region. More information here.
- O:se Kenhionhata:tie – Land Back Camp Panel. Saturday, September 30, 2023, 1:00 pm to 2:30 pm at the K-W Art Gallery, 101 Queen St N, Kitchener. In this group discussion, all three co-directors of the documentary film Stories from Land Back Camp will discuss their experiences at the camp and key moments from the process of creating the film. More information here.
- Cambridge Orange Shirt Day. Saturday, September 30, 2023, 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm at Riverside Park (Dolph Pavilion). Hosted by SOAHAC, KW Urban Native Wigwam Project, Crowshield Lodge and Qualia Counselling. More information here.
- GiZhawenimin: Journey Together For A Stronger Tomorrow Recognition Feast. Sunday, October 1, 2023, 2:00 pm to 6:00 pm at 80 Schneider Dr, Kitchener – Willow (Victoria) Park Pavillion. Local Indigenous community, supporters, & politicians gather for a potluck fall feast to celebrate opportunities provided by Ontario Trillium Foundation. More information here.
Do you know about the Truth and Reconciliation Commission?
To help reckon with this part of our past and present, the federal government created the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC). It worked between 2008 and 2015, with a mission that included informing all Canadians about what happened residential schools. It also created 94 calls to action that cover the legacy of residential schools and the process towards reconciliation.
One of those calls to action is remembering the history and legacy of residential schools, which remains a vital component of the reconciliation process.
The TRC also created a legal settlement between Residential School Survivors, the Assembly of First Nations/Assemblee des premieres Nations, Inuit representatives, the federal government and church bodies.
The work of the TRC is done within the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation. The centre is a place of learning, where the truths of the residential school experience are honored. The NCTR is also conducting continued research with the goal of fostering reconciliation and healing.
The TRC documents the truth of survivors, families, communities and anyone personally affected by the residential school experience.
For those impacted, Indian Residential School Survivors Society provides a 24-hour, confidential National Indian Residential School Crisis Line at 1-866-925-4419.