National Day for Truth and Reconciliation: Every Child Matters
September 29, 2023
This September 30th marks the 3rd annual National Day for Truth and Reconciliation and the 10th Orange Shirt Day in Canada. Orange Shirt Day begins with the story of Phyllis (Jack) Webstad, which you can read HERE in her own words. According to Orange Shirt Society, "By wearing an orange shirt on September 30th, you make a statement to support reconciliation and commit to the enduring truth that EVERY CHILD MATTERS".
In response to the tireless efforts of Indigenous communities and building upon Orange Shirt Day, the Government of Canada designated September 30th as a national holiday and the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, recognizing the ongoing trauma experienced by Indigenous peoples because of Canada's residential and day school systems. On this day, we pay tribute to the lives lost and the survivors and their families affected by these atrocities. It's a poignant reminder of the profound impact of these schools and an urgent call to the Canadian government to renew its dedication to truth, justice, and reconciliation with the First Nations, Inuit, and Métis peoples across Canada.
At PeerWorks, we acknowledge the enduring trauma experienced by Indigenous peoples in Canada due to colonization, forced displacement from their ancestral lands, the removal of Indigenous children from their homes and placement into residential schools, non-Indigenous homes, or orphanages. This trauma is intergenerational, passed down from one generation to another, and compounded by the continued injustices and atrocities experienced by Indigenous peoples in Canada, including the alarming rate of missing and murdered Indigenous women, girls, and two-spirits.
Our commitment to Indigenous people in Canada must go beyond a single day of remembrance. It must be a daily practice. At PeerWorks, we recognize that mental health and addiction issues affect Indigenous people disproportionately. We are steadfast in our commitment to amplifying the need for culturally informed peer support services for Indigenous communities. In light of this, we have highlighted some educational resources that seek better awareness of the issues Indigenous people in Canada have historically experienced and those that they continue to experience. We have also highlighted a list of resources and support specifically for Indigenous communities in Canada.
Resources for Indigenous Peoples
Hope for Wellness: 24/7 toll-free 1-855-242-3310, or connect online via chat with a counsellor at hopeforwellness.ca
Ontario Federation of Indigenous Friendship Centres: "The Friendship Centre vision is to improve the quality of life for Indigenous people living in an urban environment by supporting self-determined activities which encourage equal access to and participation in Canadian society and which respect Indigenous cultural distinctiveness."
Métis Nation of Ontario Healing and Wellness Services
Ontario Native Women's Association
Mental Health and Wellness Services for Indigenous Children and Youth
Orange Shirt Society
National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation (University of Manitoba)
Truth and Reconciliation Reports
Indigenous Canada (12-lesson course by the University of Alberta)