What you need to know about Truth and Reconciliation Day

Resources to learn about and honour the lost children and survivors of residential schools, and their communities.
September 28, 2021 1:18 p.m. EST
September 29, 2022 4:18 p.m. EST
Getty Images Getty Images

September 30th is the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation every year. This day honours the children who never returned home, the survivors of residential schools, and their families and communities. It is an opportunity to recognize and commemorate the intergenerational harm that residential schools have caused Indigenous families and communities and honours those affected by this injustice.

The last of these residential schools closed only 23 years ago and between 1870 and 1999, over 150,000 Indigenous children were removed from their family's homes and communities and sent to these places. The children were isolated from their culture and community, abused, neglected and finally murdered in these awful places. Those who died here were often buried on the school grounds to avoid the costs of sending the remains back to the family.

In their 2015 report, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada's findings showed that 1 in 50 students died at these schools across the country. More than 1800 confirmed or suspected unmarked graves have been identified to this date. 

Understanding this painful and tragic history and its ongoing impacts on the survivors is vital to the reconciliation process. It is now more important than ever to unlearn the colonialist mentality that caused all this pain and suffering, listen to the Indigenous voices, and build and strengthen connections and communities.

WATCH: Louise Longclaws on how the residential school system affected her and her family

Online Resources

Indian Residential School Survivors Society - IRSSS provides essential services to residential school survivors, their families, and those dealing with Intergenerational traumas.

National Centre For Truth And Reconciliation - The National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation (NCTR) is a place of learning and dialogue where the truths of residential school survivors, families and communities are honoured and kept safe for future generations.

Truth And Reconciliation Commission of Canada: Calls to Action - Conducted by the NCTR.

University of Alberta – Free Indigenous Canada Course - Indigenous Canada is a 12-lesson Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) from the Faculty of Native Studies that explores Indigenous histories and contemporary issues in Canada.

Legacy of Hope Foundation - A national Indigenous charitable organization with the mandate to educate and create awareness and understanding about the residential school system.

Orange Shirt Society - Began Orange Shirt Day, which is designed 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.

We Matter Campaign - A place to help Indigenous youth get through hard times, whether you need support yourself or want to support someone you know.

Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami - A national Inuit organization.

COADY International Institute - COADY is committed to reducing poverty and transforming societies by strengthening local economies, by building resilient communities and promoting social accountability and good governance.

Creative Collaboration Towards Reconciliation - Sixteen Simcoe County artists were inspired to initiate a {Re}conciliation Art Project. They came together to learn from each other, share stories, gain understanding and collaborate on a linked series of artworks.

Gojijing Truth and Reconciliation Roundtable - A growing circle of community leaders, committed to generating pathways of truth, reconciliation and right relations across our greater Gojijing bioregion in Williams Treaty Territory.

Reconciliation Canada - Reconciliation Canada is leading the way in engaging Canadians in dialogue and transformative experiences that revitalize the relationships among Indigenous peoples and all Canadians.

First Nations Child and Family Caring Society - The Caring Society works to ensure the safety and well-being of First Nations youth and their families through education initiatives, public policy campaigns and providing quality resources to support communities. 


Broken Circle: The Dark Legacy of Indian Residential Schools by Theodore Fontaine 

21 Things You May Not Know About the Indian Act by Bob Joseph 

I Am Not A Number by Jenny Kay  Dupuis & Kathy Kacer

Fatty Legs: A True Story by Christy Jordan-Fenton & Margaret Olemaun Pokiak-Fenton 

Unsettling the Settler Within by Paulette Regan

All Our Relations: Finding the Path Forward by Tanya Talaga

Speaking Our Truth: A Journey of Reconciliation by Monique Gray Smith


We Were Children directed by Tim Wolochatiuk

Indian Horse directed by Stephen S. Campanelli

Rustic Oracle directed by Sonia Bonspille Boileau

Stories Are in Our Bones directed by Janine Windolph


Returning Home - Premieres Sep 30th at 9pm on Crave 1 and available to stream next-day.


Remembering The ChildrenLive from 1pm-2pm on ctv.ca, news and Cravehttps://www.aptn.ca/remembering-the-children-aptn-and-nctr-host-national-live-event-from-ottawa/

You might also like