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.