National Day for Truth and Reconciliation: Canada, on September 30, 2021, marked the first National Day for Truth and Reconciliation.
- The day honours the lost children and Survivors of residential schools, their families and communities.
- The main objective of this holiday is to educate and remind the citizens of the history of indigenous children and remember their suffering.
- All citizens were encouraged to wear the colour orange to highlight how indigenous children were robbed of their culture and freedoms.
- Public commemoration of the tragic and painful history and ongoing impacts of residential schools is a vital component of the reconciliation process.
How did the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation holiday come into being?
- The creation of this federal statutory holiday was through legislative amendments made by Parliament.
- On June 3, 2021, Bill C-5, An Act to amend the Bills of Exchange Act, the Interpretation Act and the Canada Labour Code (National Day for Truth and Reconciliation) received Royal Assent.
- Both the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation and Orange Shirt Day take place on September 30.
- Earlier this year, hundreds of unmarked burial sites of indigenous students, belonging to 215 children of the Kamloops Indian Residential School from Canada’s British Columbia were discovered.
- This caused a national outrage in the country and prompted Indigenous groups to call for a nationwide search for such mass graves.
- According to the Canadian government, there were 140 federally controlled Indigenous residential schools in Canada between 1831 and 1998.
- Thousands of children died of various diseases, and several experienced physical and sexual abuse.
- Survivors of these Indigenous schools have long advocated for reparations for the harm they experienced, which resulted in Canada creating the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.
About Orange Day:
- Orange Shirt Day is an Indigenous-led grassroots commemorative day that honours the children who survived residential schools and remembers those who did not.
- This day relates to the experience of Phyllis Webstad, a Northern Secwepemc (Shuswap) from the Stswecem’c Xgat’tem First Nation, on her first day of school, where she arrived dressed in a new orange shirt, which was taken from her.
- It is now a symbol of the stripping away of culture, freedom and self-esteem experienced by Indigenous children over generations.
- Canada is a country in North America.
- The word Canada is derived from the Huron-Iroquois kanata, meaning a village or settlement.
- It is the second largest country in the world in area (after Russia), occupying roughly the northern two-fifths of the continent of North America.
- Its southern and western border with the United States, stretching 8,891 kilometres (5,525 mi), is the world’s longest bi-national land border.
- Canada’s capital is Ottawa.
- The currency used here is Canadian dollar.