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 residential schools, as well as 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.
This federal statutory holiday was created through legislative amendments made by Parliament.
Both the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation and Orange Shirt Day take place on September 30.
Orange Shirt Day is an Indigenous-led grassroots commemorative day intended to raise awareness of the individual, family and community inter-generational impacts of residential schools, and to promote the concept of “Every Child Matters”. The orange shirt is a symbol of the stripping away of culture, freedom and self-esteem experienced by Indigenous children over generations.
On September 30, we encourage all Canadians to wear orange to honour the thousands of Survivors of residential schools.
Commemorating the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation
Across the country, you can find open to public local activities organized to commemorate the history and legacy of residential schools. Here are a few examples.
To find more local events, we invite you to search online or contact the Indigenous organizations from your province.
Download our commemorative promotional resources and share how you will mark this day by using the hashtag #NDTR on social media.
Illuminating Parliament Hill
To commemorate the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation and to honour the Survivors, their families and communities, buildings across Canada will be illuminated in orange from September 30 at 7:00 pm to sunrise October 1. This will include federal buildings such as the Peace Tower on Parliament Hill.
Remembering The Children: National Day for Truth and Reconciliation 2023
APTN and the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation present Remembering The Children: National Day for Truth and Reconciliation 2023, a 90-minute commemorative gathering. The multilingual event will be broadcast live from Parliament Hill, starting at 12 h 30 pm (ET) on APTN. Consult APTN’s September 30 programming.
Truth and Reconciliation Week
This bilingual educational program is open to all schools across Canada. All sessions will be held virtually, allowing classroom participation from across the country and the involvement of Indigenous and non-Indigenous students. From September 25-30, 2023, registration is required.
Mental health supports available
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.
Truth and Reconciliation Commission and its calls to action
There were 140 federally run residential schools in Canada that operated between 1867 and 1996. Survivors advocated for recognition and reparations and demanded accountability for the intergenerational impacts of harm caused. Their efforts culminated in:
- the Indian Residential Schools Settlement Agreement
- apologies by the government
- the establishment of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission
- the creation of the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation
The Truth and Reconciliation Commission ran from 2008 to 2015 and provided those directly or indirectly affected by the legacy of the residential schools policy with an opportunity to share their stories and experiences. The Commission released its final report detailing 94 calls to action. The National Day for Truth and Reconciliation is a direct response to Call to Action 80, which called for a federal statutory day of commemoration.
The National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation has become the permanent archive for the statements, documents and other materials the Commission gathered. Its library and collections, as well as its National Student Memorial Register, are the foundation for ongoing learning and research.
The call for proposals for community-based commemoration activities for the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation 2024 opens on November 23. For more information, visit the funding web page.
To learn more
This National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, explore the rich and diverse cultures, voices, experiences and stories of the First Nations, Inuit, and Métis peoples. Start your learning journey today.
Learn about the unique history, languages, cultural practices, and spiritual beliefs of Indigenous peoples in Canada.
Learn more about the tools and programs in place to help support the reclamation, revitalization, maintaining and strengthening of Indigenous languages in Canada.
Learn more about the contributions of Indigenous peoples from the Royal Proclamation of 1763 through the world wars to today.
Learn how the Government of Canada is working to advance reconciliation and renew a nation-to-nation relationship with Indigenous peoples, based on recognition of rights, respect, cooperation and partnership.
Access financial support to host an event or activity for the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation or browse other support measures for the culture, heritage and sport sectors.
Funding to support families, Survivors and communities to locate and memorialize children of residential schools across Canada.
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