Canada will mark its first official National Day for Truth and Reconciliation on Sept. 30, an opportunity to recognize and commemorate the legacy of residential schools, according to the Canadian government.

As part of the Indian Residential Schools Settlement Agreement, the government has declared the day a statutory federal holiday. Some provinces, however, have chosen not to recognize the holiday.

Events will take place during the entire week of Sept. 27-Oct. 1 including Orange shirt day on Sept. 30. Orange shirt day was created to honor the healing journey of Phyliss Webstad, Northern Secwpemc, Indian residential school survivor.

Although the United States has yet to recognize its Indian boarding school history, many communities on this side of the border have expressed interest in holding events recognizing the legacy, according to Christine Diindiisi McCleave, CEO of the National Native American Boarding School Healing Coalition. McCleave is a citizen of the Turtle Mountain Ojibwe Nation.

The Coalition will be honoring U.S. boarding school survivors on Sept. 30 with a day of remembrance, aligning with Canada’s orange shirt day.

Related stories:
A Mother's Prayer: Bring the children home
— Professor answers call to find boarding school children
Canada marks day to remember residential school past
Rosebud ancestors buried in emotional ceremony

Understanding that public events focusing on the history of boarding schools can bring up powerful emotions, the coalition has posted some tips on caring for survivors and their families in healing informed ways.

  • Determine what trauma experts or community healers you need present to support survivors and descendants both during attendance of the event and after.
  • Provide follow up resources so attendees can continue their healing journey after the event ends
  • Ensure traditional plant medicines are available for smudging individual and the space (provide these as care packages if you are hosting a virtual event).
  • Recognize the differing comfort levels of survivors when it comes to speaking publicly, sharing their story, standing in front of a group, even identifying as a survivor, and respect their boundaries.
  • Ensure that elders and survivors have a place of honor in the space. If you know how many will be in attendance, consider wrapping survivors in blankets or offering a gift
  • Have a private space available for processing emotions, identifying that space clearly (can be a separate virtual or physical meeting room).
  • Provide breathing exercise and ample access to water to help people process emotions that may get lodged in our bodies. If hosting virtually, remind attendees to get/drink water regularly.
  • Remember accessibility: ensure your event is accessible to community members, base this on your own community’s needs. (Consider closed captioning if gathering virtually.)

For more information visit the coalition's website.

Indian Country Today is assembling a list of events honoring boarding school survivors and drawing attention to students who died at the schools.

Please send information about your event to managingeditor@indiancountrytoday.com.

Here is a list of some events and resources:

National Day of Remembrance/United Methodist Global Ministries

Day: Sept. 30

For more information: https://umcmission.org/news-statements/remembering-native-american-victims-of-us-schools/?fbclid=IwAR1frGVRr0bVyqVmQLeSk0eJ0Qtub5AeflO6TI9rFnQoQZXdMQl1BOAl-s4.

AIM Northern Nevada/Orange Shirt Day/Stewart Indian School

DAY: Sept. 30
TIME: 5 p.m.
WHERE: Stewart Indian School in Carson City, Nevada

Prayer Gathering for National Day of Remembrance/Kansas City Indian Center

Day: Sept. 30

Time: 6 pm

Where: Heritage Park in Olathe, KS 

Orange Shirt Day/Spirit Walk ND
DAY: Sept. 30
WHERE: Bismarck, ND
TIME:

  • 7:20 a.m. morning prayer at Fraine Barracks, former Bismarck Indian SchooL
  • 5:30 p.m. Community feed at Custer Park
  • 6:00 p.m. Opening prayer and spirit walk (Custer Park to Capital)
  • 6:40 p.m. Gather at Capital steps to hear speakers
  • 7:30 p.m. Honor survivors, acknowledge the youth, end with round dance

What is Orange Shirt Day?
DAY: Sept.30
TIME: 6:45 a.m and 5:30pm
MORE INFO: https://www.facebook.com/events/537882790828960


Orange Shirt Day Day, Justice and awareness for Indigenous peoples impacted by residential schools
DAY: Sept. 30
TIME: 4:30 pm-6:00 p.m.
WHERE: Government Center, Boston
MORE INFO: Contact the North American Indian Center of Boston info@naicob.org

Coffee Time on Healing
National Day of Remembrance for US boarding schools and the national day for Truth and Reconciliation in Canada
DAY: Sept. 30
TIME: 10 a.m. -12 pm
WHERE: Livestream on First Alaskan Institute’s Facebook page
HOSTS:

  • Dr. Jessica Black (Gwich’in) Professor, University of Alaska Fairbanks
  • La quen naay Medicine Crow (Xaadass/Lingit) President/CEO First Alaskans Institute
  • President Chaaylee E’esh Richard Peterson (Lingit/Xaadaas/Unangan), President of the Central council of the Tlingit and Haida Indian tribes of Alaska

GUESTS:

  • Fred John (Ahtna)
  • Jim LaBelle, Sr. (Inupiaq)
  • Re. Dr. Anna Frank (Upper Tanana)

Orange Shirt Day: The Boarding School Era and Watch Party of the Unspoken
DAY: Sept. 30
TIME: All day, check Facebook page
WHERE: Lac Courte Oreilles Ojibwe College Extension Zoom presentation

ORANGE SHIRT DAY: FAMILY HEALING DENVER
DAY: Saturday, October 2, 2021
LOCATION: Denver Indian Family Resource Center and virtual
MORE INFO: Website

Marking the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation
DAY: Sept. 29
TIME: 2-4 p.m. Eastern Time
WHERE: Virtual
MORE INFO: Website. Webcast by the Prairie Federal Council and the Canada School of Public Service featuring Chief Dr. Wilton Littelchild, former Truth and Reconciliation Commissioner, Dr. Mari Wilson, Reconciliation Consultant and TRC commissioner, Dr. Niigaan Sinclair, University of Manitoba, Chief Cadmus Delorme, Cowessess First Nation and others.

Orange Shirt Day in honor of Phyllis Webstad, Northern Secwpemc
DAY: Sept. 30
MORE INFO: Website, residential school survivor healing journey

Moderated panel discussion with local Indigenous leaders with connection to the lands and waters of the Bow Valley
DAY: Sept. 30
TIME: 2-4 p.m.
WHERE: Banff's Central Park (Town of Banff Alberta, Canada)
MORE INFO: Website

Drum for the Children
DAY: Sept. 30
TIME: 2:15 p.m. Pacific Time
WHERE: Virtual

Screening of Gord Downie’s Secret Path
DAY: Sept. 30
TIME: 6:30-9:30 p.m.
WHERE: The Lux Cinema
MORE INFO: Free, website

Art exhibition opening of “We were the school. We were There. We remember

Day: Sept. 30-Oct.15

Time: 4:00 p.m.

Where: Sully Heff Heritage Center, 12857 RT. 438, Cattaraugus Territory

Told through voices of Hodinohsyo:nih scholars: Dr. Lori Quigley, Dr. Alyssa Mt. Pleasant, Dr. Rodney Haring and Dr. Joe Stahlman

Artists: Peter B. Jones, Samantha Jacobs, Randee Spruce, Tami Watt, Luanne Redeye , Faye Lone and Patrick Redeye

ICT logo bridge

Please send information about your event to managingeditor@indiancountrytoday.com.