CUPE BC Statement on National Day for Truth and Reconciliation
This Thursday, September 30, is the first observance of the new federal statutory holiday to mark a National day for Truth and Reconciliation. CUPE BC supports reconciliation, and we hope that CUPE members in British Columbia will look at September 30 as a day of commemoration to honour the Survivors of Indian Residential Schools, their families and those affected intergenerationally. This is not only a day to mourn and remember the children who never came home, but to find individual ways to learn more, share more and create a path forward toward reconciliation. The establishment of this national statutory holiday is Call to Action #80 of the 94 Calls to Action from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC).
The recent discovery of thousands of Indigenous children buried in unmarked graves on the sites of former residential schools across the country has heightened the awareness of Canada’s racist and genocidal residential school system.
We know that September 30th is going to be a very difficult and challenging day for Indigenous survivors and their families, and we urge anyone who needs assistance to reach out for help by calling the Indian Residential School Survivors Society crisis support line at 1-800-721-0066.
To mark this first observance of Truth and Reconciliation Day, CUPE BC will be making two donations of $5,000 each to the First Nations Child and Family Caring Society and the Orange Shirt Society to assist with the essential work these organizations are doing to support survivors and to shine more light on the incredible damage done to generations of Indigenous people. CUPE BC will also purchase 200 copies of “Spirit Bear: Honouring Memories, Planting Dreams” by Cindy Blackstock, and will be sending a copy to every CUPE Local in the province. The book is a resource for learning about topics of reconciliation. Reconciliation means something different to everyone, so do your own learning and begin the journey in solidarity with Indigenous people.
CUPE BC is calling on the B.C. government to honour the TRC’s Call to Action #82, which asks each provincial government to work with Indigenous Survivors to commission and install a Residential Schools Monument in each provincial capital.
We strongly encourage all CUPE members—and all British Columbians—to learn more about the destructive legacy of residential “schools” and the ongoing effects that we also ask that people wear an orange shirt to show solidarity with Survivors and their families, and to remember and mourn the children who never returned home. Here are a few resources:
Government of Canada National Day for Truth and Reconciliation
Information on the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples can be found here.
To participate in a public event, check these listings for an event near you:
BC Federation of Labour: https://bcfed.ca/events/september-30-national-day-truth-and-reconciliation
CUPE BC Executive Board
CUPE British Columbia
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Burnaby, British Columbia
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How to watch and listen to National Day for Truth and Reconciliation September 30. CBC Link here.
National Day for Truth and Reconciliation hosted by Gord Downie & Chanie Wenjack Fund. All content is accessible on Thursday, September 30, 2021. For more information and full event details visit the Gord Downie & Chanie Wenjack Fund website.
Truth and Reconciliation Talking Circle hosted by University of Northern British Columbia (UNBC). (September 30, 2021, 10:00 am). This 90-minute event is open to everyone. National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation’s website.
Bent Arrow Presents Orange Shirt Day (September 30, 2021, 12:00 pm – 3:00 pm). Facebook Live @BentArrowYEG. Link here.
Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc worldwide drumming circle (September 30, 2021, 2:15 pm). Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc First Nation is inviting people across the world to simultaneously drum for the missing children of Indian residential schools on the first ever National Day of Truth and Reconciliation. The time, 2:15 pm, was chosen to signify the 215 children found on the site of the former Kamloops Indian Residential School in May of this year. Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc is urging everyone to learn the Secwepemc Honour Song, which can be accessed on YouTube.
Lex̱éywa Art Activism: A recalling of a residential school experience. Link here.
Lex̱éywa Art Activism: A recalling of a residential school experience. University of the Fraser Valley, Abbotsford Campus, Evered Hall – S1114 9:00 am – 8:00 pm. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Drum for the Children: Orange Shirt Day/National Day of Truth and Reconciliation, Lafarge Lake. (September 30, 2021, 2:00 pm). Link here.
Orange Shirt Day March, N.A.R. Park. (September 30, 2021, 3:00 pm). This annual march honours all those who have been affected by the Indian Residential School experience. Participants are encouraged to wear orange. More information and event details can be located on the event organizers’ Facebook page.
Family Orange Shirt Days, Okanagan Heritage Museum. (September 30, 2021, 12:00 pm – 4:00 pm, and October 2, 2021, 10:00 am). Okanagan Heritage Museum. Link here.
National Day for Truth and Reconciliation Community Vigil, Memorial Peace Park. (September 30, 2021, 7:00 pm). Link here.
Honouring Our Children & Survivors on National Day for Truth and Reconciliation (September 30, 2021, 10:00 am). Link here.
Orange Shirt Day Walk, Meet at the Harbour Key. (September 30, 2021, 11:00 am). Poster attached.
Honouring the Children: Orange Shirt Day, Noons Creek Hatchery. (September 30, 2021, 1:30 pm – 3:00 pm) Link here.
National Truth & Reconciliation Day at Lheidli T’enneh Memorial Park. (September 30th, 11:00 am to 4:00 pm). Link here.
Truth and Reconciliation Walk, Prince Rupert Middle School Track and Field. (September 30, 2021, 1:00 pm – 5:00 pm). Link here.
Every Child Matters 5K Walk – Tears for the Children, Hope for the Future, Millennium Trail. (September 30, 2021, 2:00 pm to 4:00 pm). Link here.
Orange Shirt Day Elders’ Walk with the Britannia Centre. (September 30, 2021, 9:00 am – 2:00 pm). Link here.
Xweýene:msta:m ?əkwəsqwel, seýeḿ (September 30, 2021, 12:00 pm) Šxʷƛ̓ənəq Xwtl’e7énḵ Square 850 W. Georgia Street. Link here.
Orange Shirt Day: Beans (Filmmaker Q+A) at the Rio Theatre. (September 30, 2021, 4:00 pm). Link here.
Orange Shirt Day: Don’t Say its Name (BC Premiere/ Director Q+A) at the Rio Theatre. (September 30, 2021, 7:00 pm). Link here.
Orange Shirt Day, University of Victoria. (September 29, 2021, 9:00 am – 4:30 pm). The day is organized into three events that represent the past, present and future, starting at 9 a.m., noon and 3:30 p.m. Speakers will discuss the history of residential schools and the role of education in reconciliation and the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s calls to action. Link here. The university is also hosting film screenings at Cinecenta on September 27 and 28.
National Reconciliation Day Ride, starting and ending at Centennial Square. (September 30, 2021, 10:00 am – 12:00 pm). Capital Bike and Victoria Orange Shirt Day are hosting a bike ride in recognition of National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, with stops at locations of significance to the Lekwungen and W̱SÁNEĆ people where organizers will share stories about each stop’s history. Link here.
ReconciliAction Oak Bay, at the Sno’uyutth Welcome Pole in front of Oak Bay High School, 2121 Cadboro Bay Rd. (September 30, 2021, 10:00 am 11:00 am). A group of community organizations invites residents to an event honouring residential school survivors, their families and the children who never came home. Members of the Songhees Nation will be present to share their wisdom. Link here.
Unveiling of territorial acknowledgement plaque, Hampton Park, 3401 Tillicum Road. (September 30, 2021, 11:00 am). Hampton Little League is unveiling a permanent sign in the park acknowledging the traditional territory of the Songhees and Esquimalt Nations.
Xe xe Smun’ eem-Victoria Orange Shirt Day: Every Child Matters Ceremony (September 30, 2021, 12:00 pm – 2:30 pm). Link here.
Open house at Art Gallery of Greater Victoria, 1040 Moss Street. (September 30, 2021, 12:00 pm – 5:00 pm). The art gallery is welcoming visitors to view their two current exhibitions for free, which offer starting points for conversations around reconciliation. Holding Ground is an Indigenous-led exhibition that examines the history and continuation of Indigenous resistance. Link here.
ReconciliAction Oak Bay is hosting a film screening of Picking Up the Pieces: The Making of the Witness Blanket, Canadian College of Performing Arts, 1701 Elgin Road. (October 1, 2021, 7:00 pm). Link here.
Williams Lake First Nations will be holding a ceremony on September 30th to honour the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation. The ceremony will start at 1:00 pm at the St. Joseph’s Mission site, which will then be followed by a vehicle procession to the Arbor, at which there will be a drum circle at 2.15 pm. Everyone is welcome to attend. Link here.
Story Walk (self-guided) – Kiwanis Park, 198 4th Ave North. (September 30, 2021, all day). Link here.
- Read the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada’s Reports and Calls to Action. Link here.
- Familiarize yourself with the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. Link here.
- Sign on to the Change.Org petition created by BCTF members Rick Joe and Peggy Janicki. Link here.
- Find out what First Nations Territory you reside on and make a point of Acknowledging it. Link here.
- Understand the symbolism of the orange shirt. Link here.
- Read Indigenous authors and watch Indigenous movies, buy Indigenous-made gifts, listen to podcasts and follow Indigenous news sources. Link here.
- Create a Back Pocket Reconciliation Plan. Link here.
For an updated list of events, please visit our website at www.bcfed.ca/events.