September 30, National Day for Truth and Reconciliation

Each year, September 30 marks the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation.  The day honours the children who never returned home and survivors of Indian residential institutions, as well as their families and communities. Public commemoration of the tragic and painful history and ongoing impacts of residential institutions is a vital component of the reconciliation process.

There were 140 federally run Indian residential institutions in Canada that operated between 1831 and 1996. The last institution closed 26 years ago. Survivors advocated for recognition and reparations and demanded accountability for the intergenerational impacts of harms caused. Their efforts resulted in the Indian Residential Schools Settlement Agreement which set the path to the creation of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission

The Truth and Reconciliation Commission ran from 2008 to 2015 and provided those affected by the legacy of the Indian residential school (institution) policy with an opportunity to share their stories and experiences. This led to the 95 Calls To Action and the formation of The
National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation. The National Day for Truth and Reconciliation is a direct response to the Call to Action 80, which called for a federal statutory day of commemoration.

Sir John A. MacDonald was the Prime Minister who oversaw the expansion of Indian Residential Institutions as tools of assimilation and genocide.  “We are doing all we can, by refusing food until the Indians are on the verge of starvation, to reduce the expense,” Sir John A MacDonald, Prime Minister of Canada, April 26, 1882.

Show your support to survivors and honour those who lost their lives by wearing orange (
Orange Shirt Day) on September 30.  This is one step on the long journey to reconciliation.

If you need someone to talk to, the National Residential School Crisis Line offers emotional support and crisis referral services for residential school Survivors and their families. Call the toll-free Crisis Line at 1-866-925-4419. This service is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.