National Day for Truth and Reconciliation


“Our future, and the well-being of all our children rests with the kind of relationships we build today.”

– Chief Dr. Robert Joseph

‘The goal of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission is to begin the process of righting the wrongs committed against Indigenous Peoples across Canada – something in which all Canadians are called upon to participate.’  This day is meant to also encourage deeper reflection, learning, and public dialogue on the relationship between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples.  There are lots of opportunities to engage in reconciliation activities and to learn from them, ranging from exploring what you don’t know today, to taking a deep, respectful dive into understanding (which takes a ‘lifetime’).

September 30 is also Orange Shirt Day.  ‘On September 30, we encourage all Canadians to wear orange to honour the thousands of Survivors of residential schools. 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’ (source: Government of Canada).

Calls to Action

Anyone in Canada can take steps for reconciliation by reading the Calls to Action from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.  These are in the many areas needing redress and outline the actions that are meaningful in starting that process.

As CRN members, and in the BC CRN, the Actions that relate to our approach / mission are mainly those under health (Call 18, 19, 22-23, 39 and 41).  Other calls under Education apply to us (such as – developing culturally appropriate curricula) and Calls 57 / 92 (calling for training for public servants and organizations in history of Indigenous people, Treaties and Aboriginal rights, Indigenous law, skills-based competency training in intercultural – competency, conflict resolution, human rights, and anti-racism).

Everyone should be familiar with the UN Declaration of Indigenous Rights and Privileges document and the Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Act.  In BC it has been adopted as a legal framework (2019) and underpins action from the BC Government.  Bill 41 harmonizes BC laws with the United Nations Declaration (UNDRIP); BC is the first province to do so. This creates a framework for reconciliation in BC (includes an action plan).

BC CRN’s Magical Backyard Medicines

  • Magical Backyard Medicine Facebook page – an example of how to understand the place of the land and traditional knowledge with collaboration and ‘living’ reconciliation.  This project is a collaboration between three communities in BC’s Northwest (Houston, Smithers and Hazelton Community Response Networks). The project has been developed on the traditional territories of the Wet’su’we’ten and Gitxsan peoples who have been stewards of the land for time immemorial. The traditional plant knowledge and expertise presented are rooted in and overseen by Ross McRae (Fire Squirrel Chaser) and Lorraine Half (Baby Skin) from the Gitxsan Territories.  Magical backyard medicines rests in an ‘all my relations’ way of connection to life and land. (Belinda Lacombe – Regional Mentor, member of the Metis Nation).

Take a Course

  • Paid courses:
    • San’yas Indigenous Cultural Safety Training – Core ICS Foundation training
      Provincial Health Services Authority offers certificated training in fundamentals or in four specialties. Background to creating cultural safety.
    • Indigenous and Canadian Histories 101
      Curious about Indigenous cultures and histories? Want a deeper dive into important court cases and legislation that define Indigenous-Crown relations in B.C. today? After watching this video, you’ll be more equipped to take part in truth and reconciliation efforts. Sarah Robinson, principal at Rainwatch Advising, explores the side of history often left out of textbooks. 45 minute session, $55 per person.
  • Register for a free seat through Reconciliation Education.

Other Reconciliation Related Topics

  • First Peoples Cultural Council – Endangered Language Project
    Indigenous languages contribute to a sense of identity and a healthy life; they inform us about our ancestors’ traditional knowledge and important teachings. As a network for language communities across the globe, the Endangered Languages Project offers an online resource where language leaders around the world can record, access, share and research Indigenous languages. Through the Endangered Languages Project website, users can also access information on languages and language resources.
  • BRAID Indigenous Anti-Racism Reading Circle: Indigenous Writes
    BRAID Network for Health Educators of the University of Manitoba invites you to participate in this online event on September 16th, 10:00am-12:00pm CDT. Additional Learning Sessions every 6 weeks. About the event: The BRAID Indigenous Anti-Racism Reading Circle provides educators in the Rady Faculty of Health Sciences with the opportunity to engage in a critical exploration of contemporary writing on issues of racism, colonialism, and the health care system. The goal of this learning series is to create a space of support and shared learning that will promote anti-racist practice and teaching within Indigenous health curricula in Rady’s professional health education programs. Learning sessions will occur every 6 weeks.

Websites and Additional Information:

(Feature image retrieved from the Government of Canada, National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, 2023.)