National Day for Truth and Reconciliation
Tawnshi kiyawow / Hello and good day.
Trigger Warning: topics of residential school, colonialism, genocide.
September 30th is a solemn day for Indigenous peoples; take this day to care for yourself, to spend time with family, or with other relations on the land. I encourage folks to take the spaces made for you and navigate them with your heart; whether that looks like supporting somebody, showing up for an event, or taking a step back from social media and spending time in places that heal you.
I recognize that Orange Shirt Day comes with an immense toll on our mental, physical and spiritual health, please do not hesitate to access culturally sensitive counselling services today. Some resources available across the province are included below.
Today is also a day for non-indigenous peoples to reflect on the history and relationship they have with the land they live on. Today is an opportunity for you to attend events and listen to survivors of genocide. Orange Shirt Day or National Day for Truth and Reconciliation is a day for non-indigenous people to widen their world views, to understand that colonialism is ongoing, and the legacy that is inherited with that.
Today many people will be wearing orange in solidarity with survivors of the residential school system, I challenge you to go beyond that. Have an intervention with yourself and reflect on what you can do to have a more meaningful relationship with the land and community in which you live on. Challenge yourself to show up for Indigenous communities more than just once a year, and find yourself in an ongoing relationship with the very communities you live within.
Please take care of yourselves today, you are loved.
Maarsii / Thank you
Quinn Cunningham, BCFS Indigenous Students Representative
Mental health supports available
Indian Residential School Survivors Society crisis line: 1 (800) 721-0066
Indigenous peoples across Canada can also go to The Hope for Wellness Help Line 24 hours a day, 7 days a week for counselling and crisis intervention. Call the toll-free Help Line at 1 (855) 242-3310 or connect to the online chat.
The National Indian Residential School Crisis Line has been set up to provide 24/7 support to residential school survivors and others who are affected. Call: 1 (866) 925-4419.
ACTIONS YOU CAN TAKE TOWARDS ONGOING ALLYSHIP:
- 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.
- Find out what First Nations Territory you reside on and make a point of acknowledging it; learn how to do so in a meaningful way. Link here.
- Understand the symbolism of the orange shirt. Link here.
- Seek out resources by Indigenous creators: 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.
- Donate to, if you are able, and support Indigenous organisations within your community.
- Listen to, share and amplify Indigenous voices where/when appropriate.
- Keep local representatives accountable to meaningfully advancing reconciliation.
- Attend an event held in recognition of the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation. Find information about community and online programming happening across BC here.
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