Hi Top 5-ers! Starting this year, September 30th will be a federal statutory holiday for “National Day for Truth and Reconciliation”.
What does this mean? “National Day for Truth and Reconciliation provides an opportunity to recognize and commemorate the tragic history and ongoing legacy of residential schools, and to honour their survivors, their families and communities” (Government of Canada, 2021).
1. Support Indigenous artists, business owners, journalists, and community organizers.
Colleen Gray: Colleen is a local artist that creates amazing watercolour wildlife, landscapes, and figures on synthetic paper, meshing oil and water produces unique and meaning full pieces.
*All Photos are from Colleen Gray’s Instagram
You can check out Colleen’s Website Here!
You can also follow her on Instagram Here!
Cody Coyote: Ottawa raised, Cody, comes from Ojibwe and Irish descent and creates award-winning hip-hop/electronic music. With the goal of “Introducing an Indigenous Voice in Canadian Music” (Globe and Mail, n/a), he’s been able to achieve more than music, including motivational speaking and workshop facilitation.
Check out Cody’s Website Here!
You can listen to Cody’s Music on YouTube, Spotify, and Apple Music!
Birch Bark Coffee Company: Mark Marsolais-Nahwegahbow an Ojibwe, founded Birch Bark Coffee Company, on a mission to change Indigenous lives across Canada. Birch Bark Coffee Company offers organic, fair trade and SPP coffee.
You can purchase Birch Bark Coffee Company in-store, find the closest location to you Here or online Here!
Second Aura: Second Aura is a fine jewelry company that mixes heritage and design beautifully in their pieces (rings, earrings, necklaces, anklets and body jewelry). Their aesthetic pieces are not only on-trend but also unique. Their “Pieces With Purpose” line raises funds for multiple Indigenous organizations.
You can purchase online Here.
2. Read about Canadian Residential Schools
David A. Roberston, a Cree author, has curated a list of books by Indigenous writers about residential schools. Here are just a few options to check out.
Indian Horse – Richard Wagamese (Historical Fiction Novel)
The Train – Jodie Callaghan (Children’s Picture Book)
I Am Not a Number – Jenny Kay Dupuis & Kathy Kacer (Children’s Picture Book)
The Red Files – Lisa Bird-Wilson (Poetry)
They Called Me Number One: Secrets and Survival at an Indian Residential School – Bev Sellars (Memoir)
Broken Circle The Dark Legacy of Indian Residential Schools: A Memoir – Theodore Fontaine (Memoir)
You can find the entire list (48 books) Here!
3. Donate to Indigenous Charities
The Indian Residential School Survivor Society (IRSSS) is a provincial organization with a twenty-year history of providing services to Indian Residential School Survivors.
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 KUU-US Crisis Line Society is a non-profit registered charity that provides 24-hour crisis services through education, prevention and intervention programs.
The Legacy of Hope Foundation (LHF) is a national, Indigenous-led, charitable organization that has been working to promote healing and Reconciliation in Canada for more than 19 years.
4. Watch Documentaries/Movies
We Were Children: You can rent the movie on NFB or if you have an Amazon Prime subscription, it can be found on Canadian Prime.
Rent on NFB Here!
Watch on Amazon Prime Here!
Every Child Matters: National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation has generously posted both Part 1 and Part 2 on Youtube!
TRC Mini-Documentary: Senator Murray Sinclair on Reconciliation: You can see the mini-doc on NFB or on Youtube!
Browse on NFB Here!
Watch on YouTube Here!
5. Visit Museums
The Canadian Museum of History is the most visited in Canada, and for good reason. In addition to the 25,000 square feet of exhibition space, including the Grand Hall and First Peoples Hall, the Canadian Museum of History presents several exhibitions yearly that pay homage and bring awareness to the tragic history of residential schools in Canada.
Grand Hall: As a viewer of the Grand Hall, you’ll discover the history, cultures, and beliefs of the First Peoples of the Pacific Coast. With fascinating presentations of their renowned culture, the Grand Hall offers a selection of artifacts, both historic and contemporary, that will allow for a first-class education of the past. The Grand Hall is arguably the most impressive indoor architectural presentation and is the cornerstone of the Canadian Museum of History.
First Peoples Hall: A walkthrough of the First Peoples Hall will provide you with a better understanding and education of the diversity and history of the First Peoples. Among the 2000+ artifacts and objects seen throughout this exhibition, the First Peoples Hall also presents one of the oldest representations of the human face; an incredibly interesting artifact in the Museum’s abundant collection. To truly dive into the story of survival, renewal, and vitality, and to celebrate the richness of the First Nations, Metis, and Inuit, you’ll most certainly want to take in all that the First Peoples Hall has to offer.
The Museum is open Wednesday-Sunday from 10 am to 4 pm and until 7 pm on Thursdays.
You can purchase tickets Here!
The history of the Indigenous, First Nations, Metis, and Inuit, and the tragic recount of the residential schools is an important part of Canadian history and culture. As such, it should be commemorated, remembered, and honoured.
Starting this year on September 30th, the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation will be recognized as a federal statutory holiday. As a tribute, we as Canadian citizens must do our part.
Whether supporting indigenous artists and business owners, educating yourself on the history of residential schools through reading or watching documentaries, donating to the various indigenous charities, or visiting the Canadian Museum of History, there are several ways to recognize our history on this day.
Do your part. Support, Recognize, and Honour.
Birch Bark Coffee Company. “Birch Bark Coffee Company Inc.” Birch Bark Coffee Company, birchbarkcoffeecompany.com/.
“Canadian Indigenous Shops and Businesses.” Ottawa River Lifestyle, 18 Dec. 2020, ottawariverlifestyle.com/blogs/news/canadian-indigenous-shops-and-businesses.
“Canadian Museum of HISTORY Home Page.” Home | Canadian Museum of History, www.historymuseum.ca/.
Coyote, Cody. “Cody Coyote.” Atom, www.codycoyotemusic.com/home.
El Gharib, Sarah. “5 Ways You Can Educate Yourself and SUPPORT Indigenous Communities in Canada.” Global Citizen, www.globalcitizen.org/en/content/how-to-support-indigenous-communities-canada/.
Government of Canada. “Federal Statutory Holiday: National Day for Truth and Reconciliation.” National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, Government of Canada, 18 Aug. 2021, www.citt-tcce.gc.ca/en/resource-types/national-day-truth-reconciliation.html.
Gray, Colleen. Colleen Gray Art, colleengrayart.ca/.
“Non-Indigenous People – Here’s What You Can Do, Right Now.” IndigiNews, 11 June 2021, indiginews.com/okanagan/non-indigenous-people-heres-what-you-can-do-in-wake-of-kirs-news.
Robertson, David A. “48 Books by Indigenous Writers to Read to UNDERSTAND Residential Schools | CBC Books.” CBCnews, CBC/Radio Canada, 25 June 2021, www.cbc.ca/books/48-books-by-indigenous-writers-to-read-to-understand-residential-schools-1.6056204.
“Second Aura Jewellery.” Second Aura, secondaura.ca/.