Friday September 30th is the second annual National Day for Truth and Reconciliation. Canadians from coast-to-coast-to-coast have been encouraged to take this opportunity to “recognize and commemorate the legacy of residential schools.” At The Bentway, our team is taking the day to educate ourselves and reflect on how we as individuals, and collectively as an organization, can further the reconciliation process through our work. Our operations will pause for the day so that we can commit to, and focus on, this important work together.
National Day for Truth and Reconciliation was originally proposed in 2015 by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada (TRC) as part of their 94 Calls to Action. The TRC called upon the federal government, in collaboration with Indigenous 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.”
How will you recognize and commemorate the legacy of residential schools?
- On September 30th:
- Wear orange to show solidarity and send a clear message of support to Survivors who were made to feel the opposite when they were children in residential schools. Consider buying your orange clothing from an Indigenous-owned and/or affiliated business.
- Tune in to APTN at 1pm to catch a livestream of The National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation one-hour memorial gathering in Ottawa.
- Anytime, all the time:
- Visit the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation for information, resources, event listings and more. If you are a Survivor and need emotional support, a national crisis line is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week: 1-866-925-4419.
- Review the 94 Calls to Action released by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission in 2015
- Watch survivor Phyllis Webstad talk about the significance of her orange shirt.
- Find movies, music, documentaries and more on the NFB’s Indigenous Voices and Reconciliation channel and watch most of them for free.
- Learn and unlearn; colonialism is embedded in institutions and systems that were built to protect and sustain it. If you’re looking for a place to start, check out the NCTR Education Resources and The City of Winnipeg Reconciliation Guides.
- Play an active role in building your intercultural competency by getting to know who the Indigenous people are in your region and what the original relationship was between Indigenous people and non-Indigenous people.
- Examine corporate policies and operational activities at your own workplace: Do your policies address systemic racism and actively advance reconciliation?
- Amplify reconciliation messages on social media to lend your voice in support of Indigenous issues, reminding governments to commit serious action to Indigenous issues.
This Fall, support and engage with the work of Indigenous artists here in Toronto:
- Weweni Bizindan at The Bentway, by artists Ogimaa Mikana Project (Susan Blight and Hayden King), on now until late October
- Toronto’s Nuit Blanche on October 1, assembled by Dr. Julie Nagam
- The upcoming imagineNATIVE Film + Media Arts Festival, opening October 18
- PowerPlant’s Arctic/Amazon: Networks of Global Indigeneity exhibition
- AGO’s permanent Indigenous collection and current exhibitions featuring work by Alan Mitchelson and Brian Jungen