In formal recognition of the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, the NRHN will be closed on September 30 to allow staff to reflect on the historical and ongoing impacts of settler-colonialism and explore opportunities to support Indigenous decolonization and human rights. Below are resources to support your own participation in Truth and Reconciliation.
Today—September 30—is Orange Shirt Day and the first ever National Day for Truth and Reconciliation.
While reconciliation requires an ongoing commitment to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s 94 Calls to Action— a commitment that extends far beyond this one day—we at the National Right to Housing Network honour this holiday in order to take time to reflect on the historical and ongoing impacts of settler-colonialism and residential schools. Following the guidance of our Indigenous partners, we continue to work towards a decolonized housing sector in which Indigenous children, families, and peoples—who disproportionately face homelessness and inadequate housing—can thrive.
We encourage our members and supporters to join us in taking time to not only listen, learn, and reflect, but also explore opportunities to meaningfully support Indigenous decolonization and do the work to dismantle systemic barriers to Indigenous sovereignty, self-determination, and basic human rights like the right to housing. We also call on all levels of governments to honour their obligations to uphold Indigenous human rights and self-determination, as outlined in the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and elaborated upon in the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Calls to Action and the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls’ Calls to Justice.
To help both Indigenous peoples and non-Indigenous peoples (i.e. settlers) participate in the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, we have put together a list of Indigenous-led resources to explore:
- Legacy of Hope, to support Indigenous residential school Survivors
- Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami, to help Inuit communities overcome socioeconomic challenges and thrive
- Indian Residential School Survivors Society, which offers physical, emotional, intellectual, and spiritual supports and healing through culturally-based values and guiding principles for Survivors, families, and communities
- National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation, to support Survivors and honour the many children who never made it home to their families
- The latest episode of Telling our Twisted Histories, on decolonizing the word “reconciliation”
- CBC’s Reclaimed Playlist, featuring a collection of Indigenous music of various genres
- Mi’kmaq lawyer Dr. Pam Palmater’s Warrior Life podcast, focused on 1) asserting, living, and defending sovereignty, 2) decolonizing the mind, body, and spirit, and 3) revitalizing Indigenous cultures, nations, laws, and governing practices
- A three-part Residential Schools podcast series hosted by Shaneen Robinson-Desjarlais and Historica Canada, which explores the history and legacy of residential schools and honours the stories of First Nations, Metis and Inuit Survivors, their families, and communities
- The Missing & Murdered: Finding Cleo podcast, which helps unravel what happened to Cleo Nicotine Semaganis, a young Cree girl who was taken from her family by child welfare workers in the Sixties Scoop
- Mumilaaq Qaqqaq’s powerful On The Way Home podcast episode on Nunavut’s housing crisis and the subjugation of Indigenous peoples in Northern Canada
- The Inuit Circumpolar Council’s unikkaat / unipkaat ungipaghat / nallunairutet Circumpolar Waves podcast, sharing Inuit voices, stories, and experiences
- The National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation’s full slate of Truth and Reconciliation Week events, many of which centre residential school Survivors (the recorded events are also available on their YouTube channel)
- Residential Schools in Canada Timeline, which traces the history of residential schools to as far back as the 17th century
- The Downie Wenjack Fund’s discussion with notable Indigenous speakers, exploring the significance of September 30, what this means for reconciliation in Canada, and how we can participate meaningfully (Premieres Sept. 30 at 10:00 a.m. ET)
- Wear your orange shirt! If you don’t have one, you can buy one from an Indigenous retailer like Native Northwest, Our Feather Clothing Co, Every Child Matters Fundraiser, or Diamond Phoenix Creations
- Attend a local event in your community, honouring Truth and Reconciliation Day or residential school Survivors
- Read books by Indigenous authors, both yourself (here are some adult titles) and with children (here are some children’s titles)—additionally, here is a list of books for all ages to help understanding residential schools
- Explore the Indigenous Housing Caucus’ website and proposal for a “For Indigenous, By Indigenous” housing strategy
- Share photos of your orange lights, orange shirts, or other Orange Shirt Day commemorations on social media using the hashtags #OrangeShirtDay or #LightTurtleIslandOrange (#IlluminerÎleTortueOrange in French)
- Make a poster that says “Every Child Matters” in orange letters and post it on your window, front lawn, or fence, or use orange chalk to write “Every Child Matters” on an outdoor wall or surface