Both the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation and Orange Shirt Day take place on September 30th.
The National Day for Truth and Reconciliation honours the children who never returned home and survivors of residential schools, as well as their families and communities.
Orange Shirt Day is an Indigenous-led grassroots commemorative day intended to raise awareness of the individual, family and community inter-generational impacts of residential schools, and to promote the concept of Every Child Matters. The orange shirt is a symbol of the stripping away of culture, freedom and self-esteem experienced by Indigenous children over generations.
The Niagara Ontario Health Team – Équipe Santé Ontario Niagara (NOHT-ÉSON) and its partners are committed to working collaboratively and respectfully with Indigenous Peoples in Niagara to improve access to care. As we mark the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation on September 30th, the NOHT-ÉSON is reminded of the need for continued conversation and cooperation to understand and address the barriers to health and wellbeing outcomes for Indigenous Peoples.
On September 30th, you are encouraged to wear orange to honour the thousands of survivors of residential schools.
Below, you will find where to purchase an orange shirt, activities and events taking place in the Niagara region, as well as videos and other resources related to the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation and Orange Shirt Day.
Where can you purchase Orange Shirt Day apparel?
Please consider supporting a local Indigenous organization:
- Niagara Chapter-Native Women Inc. Shirts are hand silk screened by Indigenous youth who are paid in a mentoring program. Call: 905-871-8770.
- Fort Erie Native Friendship Centre. 796 Buffalo Road. Jessica Durand: 905-871-8931, ext. 233.
Fort Erie Native Friendship Centre
The second annual Family Unity Walk begins at 10 a.m. at Mather’s Arch (11 Niagara Parkway), continues west on Garrison Road to Buffalo Road, and then south back to the Fort Erie Native Friendship Centre (796 Buffalo Road).
Several guest speakers will address the participants following the walk.
People are asked to park at the Fort Erie Leisureplex (3 Municipal Centre Drive), and shuttles will take people to Mather’s Arch at 9:30 a.m.
Click here for more details.
TREATY: A Reconciliation Revelry
Niagara Parks presents this free concert event produced and directed by Tim Johnson, Mohawk, Six Nations of the Grand River. Embark on a journey of varied experiences that lead Canadians through stories of encounter and conflict to resolution, landing on uplifting notes of recognition, understanding, and respect.
Explore stories and messages through video, narrative, and, of course, popular music that audiences will know and love. TREATY: A Reconciliation Revelry raises awareness of Indigenous contributions to Canada and their struggle for appropriate acknowledgement.
Join the community at the Niagara Parks Power Station Stage at 6 P.M. for this captivating concert that will provide audiences with historical context for understanding Indigenous experiences and Indigenous realities today.
Sunrise Ceremony, Niagara Parks Power Station Plaza Stage: A traditional sunrise ceremony will take place at 7:13 a.m., led by Grandmother Jackie Labonte and the lighting of a ceremonial fire by Dave Labbe.
Beyond the Orange Shirt Story, Niagara Parks Power Station Plaza Stage: Honouring the 150,000 children and their families impacted by Indian Residential Schools, this event will share the origins of Orange Shirt Day by Phyllis Webstad and inspire us to collectively move towards cultural understanding and reconciliation marked by this national holiday. 10 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.
Falls illumination and fireworks, Queen Victoria Park: Niagara Falls will turn orange hourly for 15-minutes, to mark the National Day of Truth and Reconciliation. A fireworks display will take place at 10 p.m., featuring a special orange finale. Niagara Region Native Center’s Powwow Drummers and Singers will perform throughout the evening. 8 p.m. to 11 p.m.
Town of Pelham
Join the Town on National Day for Truth and Reconciliation on September 30 for an in-person seminar with Nokomis Migizinz Cindilee from 4 Winds All My Relations. Nokomis Migizinz Cindilee (Anishinaabe) is a Physical Grandmother and a Spiritual Grandmother Women Bundle Carrier. She actively works and engages in various capacities of Traditional Knowledge sharing in Halton, Hamilton and Niagara. Since 2007, her work has been in education working in elementary, secondary, and post-secondary as an instructor, educator, academic coach, and cultural liaison- sharing teachings and history.
Where: Meridian Community Centre (Accursi Room) – 100 Meridian Way
When: 2:15pm to 3:15pm
Participate in an in-person workshop with April Mitchell-Boudreau to create a medicine wheel bracelet. It is free to attend for children and adults will pay a fee if they would like to make their own.
April Mitchell-Boudreau is a Niagara-based designer and proud Indigenous entrepreneur. She is a member of the Turtle Clan and Mohawk Nation with roots at Six Nations. April infuses her design work with traditional materials imagined in a contemporary context, and is committed to wellness through creativity and slow fashion. Owner of Lofttan Convertible Jewelry, April invented the Lofttan multiwear strand system, worn and loved by people around the world.
Registration required. Please contact Amanda Deschenes by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Where: Meridian Community Centre (Accursi Room) – 100 Meridian Way
When: 3:30pm to 4:30pm.
Niagara Regional Native Centre
The Niagara Regional Native Centre presents the 8th Annual Traditional Powwow on October 1 at the Meridian Centre in Downtown St. Catharines. Free and inclusive, the event is Canada’s largest arena powwow. Click here for more details.
The De dwa da dehs nye>s Aboriginal Health Centre produced a video titled Our Children, Our Voices: Words as Medicine. The video of ceremony, resilience, and healing honours the Indigenous community’s Residential School Survivors, their families, and remembers the children who never made it home.
Our Children, Our Voices: Words as Medicine (video)
The Fort Erie Native Friendship Centre produced a docuseries highlighting Indigenous history in Niagara. It is intended to help educate those who want to know more about the Indigenous people’s history.
The following video looks at the tragedies of the residential school system, the 1960’s Scoop, the Millennial Scoop, and their impacts on Indigenous peoples and communities in the present.
Indigenous Perspectives (Part 2)
The next video discusses racism in Canada today and how the community is healing with all the trauma it has experienced.
Indigenous Perspectives (Part 3)
For more information, please visit the Fort Erie Native Friendship Centre’s website.
Brock University has developed a webpage to mark the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation. Click here to visit the page.
The Greater Niagara Chamber of Commerce has a webpage to recognize and commemorate the history and ongoing legacy of residential schools and the trauma experienced by so many. The Chamber believes Canadian business has an important role to play in reconciliation and commit to ongoing education, reflection and promoting economic reconciliation with Indigenous Peoples.
Orange Shirt Day is every day
3 Crows Productions takes you on a visual journey of what Orange Shirt Day means to them. Elders and Residential School Survivors Cyril Pierre and Joseph Ginger return to the grounds of St. Mary’s Indian Residential School located in Mission, BC. Indigenous storytellers Dallas Yellowfly and Alysha Collie accompany them. They explain why Orange Shirt Day is every day, and why this day is so important. Their messages aim to bring hope to future generations of youth, educators and communities.
Orange Shirt Day is every day (video)
The National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation (NCTR) is a place of learning and dialogue where the truths of Residential School Survivors, families and communities are honoured and kept safe for future generations. The NCTR educates Canadians on the profound injustices inflicted on First Nations, Inuit and the Métis Nation by the forced removal of children to attend residential schools and the widespread abuse suffered in those schools. The NCTR’s website features archives and collections that are the foundation for ongoing learning and research.
CBC Listen has created a playlist titled Indigenous Canada. From roots and rock to hip-hop and hand drums – Canadian Indigenous music is an invite to a cultural experience across all genres. Click here to hear Buffy Sainte-Marie, Don Amero, Iskwe, A Tribe Called Red, Wolf Saga and more!
Since 1876, the Indian Act has structured the relationship between Canada and Indigenous Peoples with profound repercussions. And though the act is well known, its detailed contents may not be. The Agenda with Steve Paikin spoke with Bob Joseph, founder of Indigenous Corporate Training, a firm specializing in cultural relations instruction, to discuss his book, “21 Things You May Not Know About the Indian Act: Helping Canadians Make Reconciliation with Indigenous Peoples a Reality.”
The Agenda with Steve Paikin and Bob Joseph (video)
The Truth and Reconciliation Commission made a series of calls to action to begin to redress the legacy of residential schools and advance the process of Canadian reconciliation. Click here to view the calls to action.
Mental Health Supports Available
Former residential school students can call 1-866-925-4419 for emotional crisis referral services and information on other health supports from the Government of Canada.
Indigenous peoples across Canada can also go to The Hope for Wellness Help Line 24 hours a day, 7 days a week for counselling and crisis intervention. Call the toll-free Help Line at 1-855-242-3310.