National Day for Truth and Reconciliation – September 30

The National Day for Truth and Reconciliation was originally proposed by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada. Action 80 calls upon the federal government, in collaboration with Indigenous peoples, to establish a statutory holiday “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.”

In June of 2021, the federal government passed legislation to mark September 30, 2021 as a National Day for Truth and Reconciliation.

The date of September 30 was chosen because it was the time of year when Indigenous children were removed from their families and forced to attend residential schools.

It was formerly known as Orange Shirt Day, a movement that started to honour Indigenous children who were forced to leave their families to attend residential schools, and was intended as a day for all Canadians to create meaningful conversations about the effects and legacy of residential schools; for survivors to be reaffirmed that they matter; and for all of us to uphold our commitment to reconciliation. The orange shirt comes from Phyllis (Jack) Webstad’s experience as a six-year-old. Her grandmother had bought her a new “back to school” outfit, including an orange shirt. However, when she got to St. Joseph Mission Residential School, she was stripped and her clothes were taken away from her:

"The colour orange has always reminded me of that and how my feelings didn’t matter, how no one cared and how I felt like I was worth nothing.”
~ Phyllis Webstad

BCRPA and our members respect and acknowledge the many ancestral and unceded indigenous territories on which we in BC live, work, and play. We acknowledge the harms and mistakes of the past and are committed to improving our relationships with the Indigenous community. We believe that recreation and parks can contribute to the healing and decolonizing journey we all share together.r

Recreation and Parks in BC are enjoyed by those who live, work and play in every corner of our province.  Building healthy communities through Recreation and Parks, and creating strong connections to the land are some of the values we share with the Indigenous peoples of this province. 

We are committed to fostering respect, reconciliation, and mutual understanding with all Indigenous peoples and communities.

Working together with community partners such as I-SPARC, SportBC, and viaSport, we are committed to supporting our members and fitness leaders in creating positive and engaging physical activity, recreation, and community-based sport opportunities that contribute to the health and well-being of Indigenous peoples.

Within our own organization, we are committed to an ongoing process of self-education to improve our awareness of Indigenous issues and to increase the cultural competence of our staff and board members.

The BCRPA staff and Board of Directors encourage all our members and fitness leaders to honour the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation on September 30th whether through personal reflection, education and awareness activities, or by participating in Orange Shirt Day or other events within communities.

Some possible actions as individuals and organizations could include:

  • Wear an Orange Shirt to visually show support
  • Post staff / member/ or sector photos taken on this day of reflection
  • Create time to walk on the land, reflect on the traditional territory, and learn the history, land use and stories of the areas
  • Reflect on your connection to the land acknowledgement you may have on your communications

The following resources are provided to help increase understanding of the Truth and Reconciliation process within Canada and BC, and to provide ideas and inspiration on ways to commemorate and participate in our National Day for Truth and Reconciliation.

Truth and Reconciliation – Calls to Action related to the recreation and parks sector

Below are the Truth and Reconciliation Calls to Action that community recreation and parks can play a role in meeting:

7) We call upon the federal government to develop with Aboriginal groups a joint strategy to eliminate educational and employment gaps between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal Canadians

19) We call upon the federal government, in consultation with Aboriginal peoples, to establish measurable goals to identify and close the gaps in health outcomes between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal communities, and to publish annual progress reports and assess long-term trends. Such efforts would focus on indicators such as: infant mortality, maternal health, suicide, mental health, addictions, life expectancy, birth rates, infant and child health issues, chronic diseases, illness and injury incidence, and the availability of appropriate health services.

43) We call upon federal, provincial, territorial, and municipal governments to fully adopt and implement the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples as the framework for reconciliation.

44) We call upon the Government of Canada to develop a national action plan, strategies, and other concrete measures to achieve the goals of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

47) We call upon federal, provincial, territorial, and municipal governments to repudiate concepts used to justify European sovereignty over Indigenous peoples and lands, such as the Doctrine of Discovery and terra nullius, and to reform those laws, government policies, and litigation strategies that continue to rely on such concepts.

57) We call upon federal, provincial, territorial, and municipal governments to provide education to public servants on the history of Aboriginal peoples, including the history and legacy of residential schools, the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, Treaties and Aboriginal rights, Indigenous law, and Aboriginal-Crown relations. This will require skills-based training in intercultural competency, conflict resolution, human rights, and anti-racism.

66) We call upon the federal government to establish multi-year funding for community-based youth organizations to deliver programs on reconciliation, and establish a national network to share information and best practices.

77) We call upon provincial, territorial, municipal, and community archives to work collaboratively with the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation to identify and collect copies of all records relevant to the history and legacy of the residential school system, and to provide these to the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation.

87) We call upon all levels of government, in collaboration with Aboriginal peoples, sports halls of fame, and other relevant organizations, to provide public education that tells the national story of Aboriginal athletes in history.

88) We call upon all levels of government to take action to ensure long-term Aboriginal athlete development and growth, and continued support for the North American Indigenous Games, including funding to host the games and for provincial and territorial team preparation and travel.

89) We call upon the federal government to amend the Physical Activity and Sport Act to support reconciliation by ensuring that policies to promote physical activity as a fundamental element of health and well-being, reduce barriers to sports participation, increase the pursuit of excellence in sport, and build capacity in the Canadian sport system, are inclusive of Aboriginal peoples.

90) We call upon the federal government to ensure that national sports policies, programs, and initiatives are inclusive of Aboriginal peoples, including, but not limited to, establishing: i. In collaboration with provincial and territorial governments, stable funding for, and access to, community sports programs that reflect the diverse cultures and traditional sporting activities of Aboriginal peoples. ii. An elite athlete development program for Aboriginal athletes. iii. Programs for coaches, trainers, and sports officials that are culturally relevant for Aboriginal peoples. iv. Anti-racism awareness and training programs.

91) We call upon the officials and host countries of international sporting events such as the Olympics, Pan Am, and Commonwealth games to ensure that Indigenous peoples’ territorial protocols are respected, and local Indigenous communities are engaged in all aspects of planning and participating in such events.

92) We call upon the corporate sector in Canada to adopt the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples as a reconciliation framework and to apply its principles, norms, and standards to corporate policy and core operational activities involving Indigenous peoples and their lands and resources. This would include, but not be limited to, the following:

i. Commit to meaningful consultation, building respectful relationships, and obtaining the free, prior, and informed consent of Indigenous peoples before proceeding with economic development projects.

ii. Ensure that Aboriginal peoples have equitable access to jobs, training, and education opportunities in the corporate sector, and that Aboriginal communities gain long-term sustainable benefits from economic development projects.

iii. Provide education for management and staff on the history of Aboriginal peoples, including the history and legacy of residential schools, the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, Treaties and Aboriginal rights, Indigenous law, and Aboriginal–Crown relations. This will require skills based training in intercultural competency, conflict resolution, human rights, and anti-racism.

Truth and Reconciliation - Acknowledgement, Action ideas, and Resources

Toolkits and Action Plans

 

Trainings

 

Videos

 

Land Acknowledgement

 

Reading List

  • 21 Things You May Not Know About the Indian Act by Bob Joseph
  • The Inconvenient Indian by Thomas King
  • Halfbreed by Maria Campbell
  • The North-West is Our Mother by Jean Teillet
  • They Called Me Number One by Bev Sellars

 

Books suitable for children

  • I Am Not a Number by Kathy Kacer
  • Fatty Legs by Christy Jordan-Fenton & Margaret-Olemaun Pokiak-Fenton
  • A Stranger at Home by Christy Jordan-Fenton & Margaret-Olemaun Pokiak-Fenton
  • Shi-shi-etko by Nicola Campbell
  • When We Were Alone by David A. Robertson

 

Supports

Culturally safe resources and supports available toll-free 24-hours a day, 7 days a week:

  • IRSSS Indian Residential Schools Crisis Line—1-866-925-4419
  • Métis Crisis Line—1-833-METISBC/1-833-638-4722
  • KUU-US—Indigenous Crisis Response Services—1-800-588-8717