National Day for Truth and Reconciliation

Listen Reflect Reconcile

In the summer of 2021, the Government of Canada proclaimed a new statutory holiday, the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, to be commemorated on September 30 every year.

This day is designated as an opportunity to “recognize and commemorate the legacy of residential schools.” It was originally proposed in 2015 by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada, which, under Action 80, called upon the federal government, in collaboration with Aboriginal peoples, to establish a statutory holiday “to honour Survivors, their families, and communities, and ensure that public commemoration of the history and legacy of residential schools remains a vital component of the reconciliation process.”

Taking time to reflect on the tragedy of residential schools on this date is important. September 30 coincides with “Orange Shirt Day,” a commemoration of the residential school experience and a gesture to support the healing journey of survivors and their families. Since 2013, wearing an orange shirt has been symbolic of remembering Phyllis (Jack) Webstad’s story , representing all that was taken away from Indigenous Peoples by residential schools. 

On this day, you are encouraged to wear an Orange Shirt, reflect on the residential school experience, engage in conversations to advance truth and reconciliation. Alone, with your family, or together with others in our community, please take time to remember, reflect and consider ways we can better listen and learn from Indigenous Peoples, for the benefit of all people in Banff and across Canada. 

2023 Events

Bones of Crows
Removed from their family home and forced into Canada’s residential school system, Cree musical prodigy Aline and her siblings are plunged into a struggle for survival. Bones and Crows is a film about Aline’s journey from child to matriarch, a moving multi-generational epic of resilience, survival and the pursuit of justice.

Date: Thursday, September 28, 7 – 9:15 p.m.
Location: The Lux Theatre
Cost: Free
Registration: Not required. Seating available on a first come, first serve basis.

(In Partnership with the Lux Theatre)

Survivors' Flag Raising Ceremony 
Join local Elders in a ceremony reflecting on the impacts of the residential school system and honouring the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation Survivors’ flag which will be displayed at Town Hall year-round in recognition of the community’s ongoing commitment and support of the national Truth and Reconciliation Committee’s Calls to Action.

Date: Friday, September 29, 2023
Time: 11 a.m.
Location: Town Hall
Cost: Free

Residential School: The Freedom Trail with Angus Cockney
Join Angus Cockney, artist, athlete, and Inuit residential school Survivor for his presentation in reflection of National Day for Truth and Reconciliation. 

Angus tells the story of three young boys running away from a Catholic-run residential school in Inuvik, NT, and their journey to Tuktoyaktuk (also called Tuk). When the road to Tuk was being constructed, several Survivors remembered the trek and wanted to honor the memory by renaming the Inuvik-Trek highway to the Freedom Trail. Drawing on his lived experience, Angus shares a powerful testimony from his life as a residential school Survivor and his own freedom trail. Please note, this presentation addresses challenging topics including themes of child abuse, assault, and residential schooling.

Date: Friday, September 29, 2023
Time: 7 p.m. start
Location: Margaret Greenham Theatre, The Banff Centre
Cost: Free
Registration: Not required. Seating available on a first come, first serve basis.

(In Partnership with The Whyte Museum of the Canadian Rockies, The Banff Centre and the Town of Banff)

Gentle Reflection Walk
Join Dani, granddaughter of a Metis residential school Survivor, on a gentle reflection walk to Bow Falls in honour of the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation. On the walk, Dani will share her journey of joining a Truth and Reconciliation committee, and she will help us pay homage to those who walked on these lands before us. The walk will end with light snacks and refreshments.

Date: Saturday, September 30, 2023
Time: 9:30 – 11:30 a.m.
Location: Town Hall
Cost: Free, but registration required
Register Online


Alberta Recreation and Parks Association oral knowledge hub


Book Recommendations from the Banff Public Library

Preschool/Child/Junior Indigenous book recommendations

The following books are appropriate for adults:




Graphic Novel:

Autobiography/Biography/Oral History: