National Day for Truth and Reconciliation

The first National Day for Truth and Reconciliation is on September 30, 2021. This day honours the lost children and survivors of residential schools, their families and communities. Public commemoration of the tragic and painful history and ongoing impacts of residential schools is a vital component of the reconciliation process.

Here are a few ways you can support Truth and Reconciliation on September 30th:

Orange Shirt Day

Across Canada, we have heard the story of former residential school survivor Phyllis (Jack) Webstad about her first day at residential school when her shiny new orange shirt, bought by her grandmother, was taken from her as a six-year-old girl. Read Phyllis’ story here.

Orange Shirt Day is one example of stories told about the abuse and violence Canada’s Indigenous children suffered in the residential schools. It also reflects the lasting impact that these institutions had on First Nations, Metis, and Inuit families and communities.

Learn more

Reading the National Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s reports is an eye-opening experience for many Canadians who were never taught the true history of the Indigenous peoples of Canada. The personal stories that are told are a heart-wrenching reminder of the work all Canadians need to do towards reconciliation. The TRC’s report includes 94 Calls to Action, one of which was the National Day of Truth and Reconciliation. But there is still plenty of work to do as only 13 of the action items have been completed. To see the progress for each Call to Action, visit the CBC's Beyond 94 website. You can also listen to the stories of residential school survivors from A Day to Listen.

Attend a virtual event

The National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation is hosting many virtual events, including some that are geared for children and classrooms. If you are not able to attend a session live, the recordings will be available to view on their website.

The Bent Arrow Traditional Healing Society is doing a Facebook live Orange Shirt Day event commemorating the National Day of Truth and Reconciliation. Check out their event here.

Attend an in-person event

Across Alberta, there will be organizations hosting events to commemorate this day. Check with your local First Nations, Metis and Inuit organizations for more information. For example, Ermineskin Cree Nation is holding an event in Maskwacis; for more information, go here.

Talk with the children in your program:

A great resource to support this is How To Talk To Kids About The National Day For Truth And Reconciliation.

There is also a wealth of educational resources from the National Centre that you can access to help you and your children learn more about the Indigenous peoples of Canada. Also, check out the First Nations Child & Family Caring Society to access other resources:

  • Reconciliation Ambearrister Program - This special bear is a guide for participating in reconciliation activities and hosting groups would “teach” their bear Indigenous languages and stories, and make sure it joins in cultural activities.
  • Educational Resources - These resources are categorized by age group and are intended to help learn about Indigenous peoples in Canada, the importance of equity for First Nations young people and provide meaningful ways to participate in reconciliation initiatives. 

Bearcipe Cards - Spirit Bear loves to bake cookies for family and friends. Use these recipes when you are learning about Spirit Bear, reconciliation, and all of the Caring Society's campaigns.

Be a support:

This day will be an emotional one for many in the early learning and child care field. Please be sure to refer anyone who needs assistance to the following resources:

  • 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 or connect to the online chat at