Learning and commemorating the truth of our history is an integral part of the path to reconciliation. OSSTF/FEESO is committed to reconciliation and ensuring that the tragic history and ongoing legacy of residential schools is never forgotten. Reconciliation requires an ongoing commitment throughout the year; however, on Orange Shirt Day, National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, and Truth and Reconciliation Week we make time to honour the lost children and Survivors of residential schools, their families and communities.
Members are encouraged to participate and support the following events:
- Orange Shirt Day – September 30, 2022
- National Day for Truth and Reconciliation – September 30, 2022
- Truth and Reconciliation Week – “Remembering the Children”
September 26–September 30, 2022
In addition to honouring Survivors, the pursuit of Truth and Reconciliation is something that should occur regularly, year-round. It is crucial to remember that dates like Orange Shirt Day are meant to be a solemn time to learn and reflect on what all of us can do to eliminate structural and overt racism, as well as other forms of discrimination, in our schools, worksites, and communities. It is about acknowledging the truth in our collective history and the ongoing inequities faced by Indigenous peoples across this land. The day is also about hope for the future and how Indigenous and non-Indigenous people can work together to create a better future for all.
Orange Shirt Day, September 30, 2022
OSSTF/FEESO members are encouraged to acknowledge this day by participating in this event in your school, worksite or local community.
Members can participate virtually by sharing images and messages on social media that demonstrates their support for this day using the hashtags – #OrangeShirtDay, #EveryChildMatters, #ResidentialSchools, and #OSSTF.
Purchase and wear official “Every Child Matters” merchandise by visiting the Orange Shirt Day website.
Many local First Nations and non-profit organizations produce Orange Shirt Day promotional materials. Local leaders are encouraged to support groups/distributers that provide direct support to Intergenerational Survivors who are suffering from the impacts of the Residential School system. For example, the Woodland Cultural Centre partners with The Healing of Seven Generations organization based in Kitchener, Ontario to produce and sell Orange Shirt Day merchandise. To purchase your orange shirt from The Healing of Seven Generations, visit their site.
National Day for Truth and Reconciliation
September 30, 2022 This year marks the 2nd National Day for Truth and Reconciliation. The day was established by the Government of Canada as an opportunity for Indigenous and non-Indigenous people to learn and reflect on the legacy of residential schools. It is also a day to support actions aimed at addressing the ongoing discrimination, oppression, and racism against First Nations, Métis, and Inuit peoples.
To learn more about the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation visit the Government of Canada site.
Truth and Reconciliation Week, September 26-30, 2022
The National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation (NCTR) is holding a 4-day national online event for students in grades 1-12, their teachers, and education workers from Monday September 26, 2022 – Friday September 30, 2022. Their theme for the week is “Remembering the Children.”
NCTR is offering activities and workshops about Indigenous language, stories and books, heritage, music, exclusive video content, activities for students and teachers and education workers. It will also feature live Q&A sessions in both English and French. For more information, including registration, please visit the NCTR event page.
Caution re: exploring/discussing Truth and Reconciliation with colleagues and students
Any time teachers and education workers learn and educate themselves or others about the history of residential schools and make an effort to implement the TRC’s calls to action they need to be mindful of the pain and trauma caused by oppression, discrimination, violence, and racism, past and present, against Indigenous people.
Days like Orange Shirt Day and National Day for Truth and Reconciliation can be extremely difficult for Indigenous students, colleagues, families, and communities. Some may choose to be with their family and/or community during these days.
These days are not intended to be used for “celebration” but instead, for learning, reflection, commemoration, and atonement by non-Indigenous people.
Many Indigenous students and colleagues use these times for healing and as times to take collective action to pressure policymakers to not only address the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Calls to Action, but also grant justice to the missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls.
OSSTF/FEESO members should seek advice and support from their employer prior to initiating organizing, or participating in any truth and reconciliation related activity, event, or lesson.
- Full Circle—First Nations, Métis, Inuit Ways of Knowing 2021 Addition – Métis resource
- First Nations, Métis and Inuit Resources for Educators — Indian Residential Schools in Canada
Additional resources and lessons:
- Aboriginal Healing Foundation – Where Are The Children?
- British Columbia Teacher Federation – Gladys We Never Knew.
- Canadian Teachers’ Federation – Speak Truth To Power Canada: Defenders for Human Rights.
- First Nations, Métis and Inuit Education Association of Ontario – Public Resources.
- Manitoba Teachers’ Society – Secret Path Lesson Plans.
- National Film Board of Canada – Indigenous Voices and Reconciliation
- Ontario Teachers’ Federation – Useful Links for Aboriginal Education.
- Secret Path by Gord Downie.- Video and Resources