Over the past several months, many of us have been closely following the tragic discovery of the remains of almost two thousand First Nations children across Canada, not including the documented deaths in the Truth and Reconciliation Commission Reports. This development prompted the creation of the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation. September 30 is now a federal statutory holiday honouring the lost children and Survivors of Residential Schools, their families and communities. This day presents an opportunity for all Canadians to have meaningful discussions about the legacy of Residential Schools and to take action by directly supporting Residential School survivors or by addressing the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada: Calls to Action.

This date is also known as Orange Shirt Day, an Indigenous-led day to commemorate the residential school experience, to witness and honour the healing journey of the survivors and their families, and to commit to the ongoing process of reconciliation. Orange Shirt Day is a legacy of the St. Joseph Mission (SJM) Residential School (1891-1981) Commemoration Project and Reunion events that took place in Williams Lake, BC, Canada, in May 2013. The orange shirt is a symbol shared by Residential School survivor Phyllis Jack Webstad, from the Stswecem’c Xgat’tem First Nation.

On this day and every day that follows, Pride at Work Canada will continue its journey of actioning our solidarity with First Nations people, the Métis Nation and Inuit, which includes Two-Spirit and LGBTQ+ Indigenous people. We encourage our network to take action and seek out additional recommendations from Indigenous organizations and communities. Some of our suggestions for today: