Ways to mark National Day for Truth and Reconciliation in Calgary

Local groups hope people take time to learn about the importance of this day and why we need it

By Krista Sylvester | September 28, 2021 |5:00 am

Hundreds of people gathered on Saturday for the third annual Colouring It Forward Reconciliation Society Orange Shirt Day Walk in honour of the victims of Canada’s residential school system.

Photo: Tapisa Kilabuk // Submitted

The inaugural National Day for Truth and Reconciliation federal statutory holiday is just a couple of days away and some people might not know how to spend the day. 

While the provincial government has said it won’t officially recognize the Sept. 30 holiday, the City of Calgary and many local businesses are. 

The new statutory holiday is being treated as an opportunity to recognize and commemorate the legacy of residential schools in Canada. 

It is also an opportunity to honour all of the First Nation, Métis, and Inuit survivors of residential schools, as well as their communities. The holiday follows a call to action by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission from 2015. 

Colouring It Forward Reconciliation Society (CIFRS) founder Diana Frost says people should think of this new statutory holiday as more of a sombre event than something more celebratory. 

“I started treating Reconciliation Day as similar to Remembrance Day. It’s a day for reflection, for learning, and for showing support for survivors of residential schools, and to commemorate the children that we’ve lost,” she says. 

“Not only that but showing support for change, support for people who are trying to heal from intergenerational trauma in the aftermath of residential schools.” 

Last Saturday, CIFRS held its third annual Orange Shirt Day Walk to honour and remember the victims of Canada’s residential school system and there was a strong showing of support. 

“The Orange Shirt Day Walk is an opportunity for all members of our community to deepen their understanding of Indigenous experiences and discover new ways to actively participate in reconciliation at both a local and national level.”

How you can participate

Frost says Calgarians can show their support by participating in events, reflecting upon the history of residential schools, and spending time learning about the importance of the day. 

“We hope that Calgarians will be inspired to take action to support Indigenous communities as we both acknowledge the past and work together towards building a better future where the traditions and culture of Canada’s Indigenous Peoples are shared and celebrated.”

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A snapshot of National Day for and Reconciliation Calgary Events 2021 can be found here and here

Here are some Indigenous businesses selling orange shirts you can support: 

I.A.M Market Collective

Moonstone Creation

Colouring It Forward

Eagle Gift

Alex Janvier

Native Art Society

There is also an Every Child Matters Fundraising Campaign at the Grey Eagle Resort and Casino until Sept. 30. Every donation received will be donated to the Tsuut’ina Culture & Museum. Help them reach their goal of $10,000. 

Your Community, your inbox.

An in-depth understanding of the stories that affect Calgary and beyond, every weekday.

By filling out the form above, you consent to receive emails from Calgary Citizen.

You can unsubscribe at any time. View our privacy policy here.

Krista Sylvester

Reporter at Calgary Citizen

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