Each year, September 30 marks the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation.
The day honours the children who never returned home and Survivors of residential schools, as well as their families and communities. Public commemoration of the tragic and painful history and ongoing impacts of residential schools is a vital component of the reconciliation process.
Orange Shirt Day was inspired by Phyllis Webstad who, at the age of six, was stripped of her new orange shirt on her first day at St. Joseph Mission residential school. All Canadians are encouraged to wear an Orange Shirt in support and to remind us all that “Every Child Matters”. It also marks a day to learn more about the historical practices of residential schools and their continued generational trauma.
To learn more about Orange Shirt Day visit: https://www.orangeshirtday.org/
To learn more about National Day for Truth and Reconciliation visit: https://www.rcaanc-cirnac.gc.ca/eng/1631130192216/1631130220404
For more Truth and Reconciliation resources visit: https://caledon.library.on.ca/truth-reconciliation/
Check out some of these picture books dealing with Indigenous issues, history, and stories to get the conversation started.
When We Are Kind celebrates simple acts of everyday kindness and encourages children to explore how they feel when they initiate and receive acts of kindness in their lives. Celebrated author Monique Gray Smith has written many books on the topics of resilience and reconciliation and communicates an important message through carefully chosen words for readers of all ages. Beautifully illustrated by artist Nicole Neidhardt, this book encourages children to be kind to others and to themselves.
On her first day at residential school, Phyllis Webstad was forced to take off her shiny orange shirt. The shirt was taken away and never returned.
When eight-year-old Irene is removed from her First Nations family to live in a residential school she is confused, frightened and homesick. She tries to remember who she is and where she came from despite the efforts of the nuns to force her to do otherwise. A picture book based on the life of Jenny Kay Dupuis’ own grandmother, I Am Not a Number brings a terrible part of Canada’s history to light in a way that children can learn from and relate to.
A look at the intergenerational impact of Canada’s residential school system that separated Indigenous children from their families and the beautiful, healing relationship between a little girl and her grandfather.