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.
“…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:
- Visit the On Canada Action Guide
Download the Indigenous Ally Toolkit
- 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)
- Write your MP asking:
Visit the following links for more information and resources.
- Phyllis Webstad’s story (founder of Orange Shirt Day Organization)
- Truth & Reconcilation in Canada’s Health System
- Scientific American on Residential Schools
- Beyond 94—CBC’s live tracking on Canada’s response the TRC’s Calls-to-Action
- Interview with Senator Murray Sinclair about systemic racism
- The Secret Life of Canada: A history podcast about the country you know, and the stories you don’t
- National Collaborating Centre for Indigenous Health: social determinants of health / understanding racism
- The National Consortium for Indigenous Medical Education
- The Way Forward
- Native Women’s Association of Canada: Federal Action Plan to Address the Findings of the Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls
- 7 Tips on Building Relationships with Indigenous Peoples
- Uncovering an Oral History of Tkaronto