National Day for Truth and Reconciliation | Orange Shirt Day

2020 Facebook Livestream for Orange Shirt Day – Knowledge Keeper Clayton Shirt; Grandfather Drummers and Singers Elijah Stevens and Joe Dick; Jingle Dancers Rosary Spence, Robin Rice, Bri Briskool Marie and Jen Murrin; Speaker Dr. Lisa Richardson with organizers Ashley Migwans, Kateri Gauthier, Dr. Michael Richardson and Leonard Benoit.

In memory of Joe Dick,
one of the amazing grandfather drummers and singers who joined us last year,
who passed away in April. Rest in Power. Much love to the whole family and community.

Every year on September 30, Women’s College Hospital observes National Day for Truth and Reconciliation and Orange Shirt Day in more than words alone. Across all departments and clinics, the Women’s College executive team and the Centre for Wise Practices in Indigenous Health (CWP-IH), we recognize the importance of taking time on this day to reflect on the legacy and impacts of Canada’s Residential School system, honour the survivors and those who perished, and hold meaningful conversations in the spirit of reconciliation and hope.

This past June, the Canadian government established the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation as a federal statutory holiday following the discoveries of more than 6,000 unmarked graves uncovered at former residential school sites across the country. The establishment of the statutory holiday responds to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Call to Action #80, which calls “upon the federal government, in collaboration with Aboriginal peoples, to establish, as a statutory holiday, a National Day for Truth and Reconciliation 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.”

While the Ontario government has not designated September 30 as a provincial statutory holiday, we will be recognizing this important day with learning and engagement opportunities at Women’s College Hospital organized through the Centre for Wise Practices in Indigenous Health in partnership with the Office of Indigenous Health at UofT’s Temerty Faculty of Medicine.

Below you will find educational resources, action items and upcoming events to help recognize National Day for Truth and Reconciliation / Orange Shirt Day in more than words alone.

The Centre for Wise Practices in Indigenous Health in partnership with
the Office of Indigenous Health at UofT’s Temerty Faculty of Medicine

Educational Booth & Orange Shirt Sale – NEW DATE ADDED
Tuesday, September 28 from 12 p.m. to 4 p.m. | Peter Gilgan Atrium

Drop by to pick up educational materials and purchase an orange t-shirt designed by the Centre for Wise Practices team. Proceeds from sales will be donated to the Woodland Cultural Institute’s “Save the Evidence” campaign, which aims to build an Interpreted Historic Site and Educational Resource Centre at the former Mohawk Institute Residential School.

Learn more about this year’s t-shirt design below!

 National Day for Truth and Reconciliation Ceremony 
Thursday, September 30

To honour the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, the Centre for Wise Practices will be sharing a recording of a private ceremony. The ceremony will include traditional opening with a WCH CWP-IH Decision Making Council Elder, song and drumming hosted by WCH Knowledge Keeper Rosary Spence, as well as remarks by leadership from the Centre for Wise Practices, Women’s College Hospital and the Temerty Faculty of Education at UofT.

About This Year’s Orange T-Shirts

This year’s “Hopi Grandfather Butterfly” Orange T-shirt #NationalTRW design has been gifted to us from our Indigenous Youth Summer Mentorship Program.

The logo was created from a vision and prophecy sharing collaboration by our #WisePractices Elders Kahontakwas Diane Longboat & Banakonda Bell & The Office of Indigenous Health’s, Temerty Faculty of Medicine (UofT) Knowledge Keeper Kawennanoron Cynthia White.

Zka’an Ni-Bmiwdoowin Gchi-Kinoomaadwinan
“Building the Fire, Walking with Medicine”

Midewiwin scrolls indicated a migration from Incas that separated into 3 groups: Choctaw -> Chippewa -> Anishinnaabe — and that we would begin to reconnect internationally; as Indigenous nations, clans, tribes and communities from across the land and water— during this (present) time of the 8th prophecy. Haudenosaunee refer to the Hopi as their Grandfathers; Hopi refer to their grandfathers as the Incas.

The exquisite, tangled, enduring and magical migration of the butterfly is a wonderful example of the spirit of transformation and journey that our youth make. This migration pattern symbolizes how it takes several generations to make change, or to transform— and how central transformative processes are the only way in which unfolding or change happens.

And so, a “Hopi Grandfather Butterfly” was created in hopes that this art, this message and this love from our Elders would tend to the spirits of young people being nurtured of past, present and future.

We thank our First Nations, Inuit and Métis youth who inspire us everyday. Our grandfathers want you to know you are never alone and to keep dreaming and visioning. The ancestors lead us, it’s time for us to follow and to walk with protective medicine. The dawn is yours, keep dreaming and visioning.

What is Orange Shirt Day

“…is a legacy of the St. Joseph Mission (SJM) Residential School (1891-1981) Commemoration Project, opening the door to global conversation on all aspects of Residential Schools. The date was chosen because it is the time of year in which children were taken from their homes to residential schools, and because it is an opportunity to set the stage for anti-racism and anti-bullying policies for the coming school year. It is an opportunity for all communities to come together in the spirit of reconciliation and hope for generations to come

…several provincial governments have proclaimed Orange Shirt Day, and in March of 2019, the Government of Canada passed a bill designating September 30th National Truth and Reconciliation Day. Unfortunately, that bill died in the Senate.”

~ excerpts from the Orange Shirt Day Organization

Calls to Action

Choose one or more action items listed below to advance truth and reconciliation. Templates and resources are linked within:

  1. Visit the On Canada Action Guide
    Download the Indigenous Ally Toolkit
  2. Read the reports and guides available on the CWP-IH hub (Truth and Reconciliation Report and its 94 calls to action, MMIWG2S Report recommendations and the Indigenous Health Primer and Health Values Statement)
  3. Write your MP asking: