September 30th, 2021 is the first National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, a statutory holiday for all to reflect and learn about the tragic legacy of residential schools in Canada, and their harmful effects to generations of Indigenous families and communities.
The National Day for Truth and Reconciliation was designated in response to the Truth and Reconciliation Call to Action 80. It states that the federal government will work with Indigenous people to establish a statutory day 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”.
Since 2013, September 30th has been known as Orange Shirt Day, initiated by Phyllis Webstad from the Stswecem’c Xgat’tem First Nation. In 1973, on her first day at St. Joseph’s Residential School at the age of six, her shiny new orange shirt was stripped from her, never to be seen again. Orange Shirt Day was begun to raise awareness about the history and legacies of the residential school system in Canada.
Here are some resources to begin the path to learning about the history and legacies of residential schools in Canada:
The Cannery will be closed on September 30th. Our staff will take the time for learning and reflection as we continue our commitment towards reconciliation*.
*The Gulf of Georgia Cannery Society seeks to reconcile with land, people, and place. We define reconciliation as the reclaiming of space, the establishment of many voices in all our practices, and the fostering of a meaningful connection to the Indigenous cultural legacy of fishing on the West Coast. It is recognizing the impact of our space on diverse visitors with multi-faceted histories, and most importantly, that the work associated with reconciliation is critical, complex, and continuous.