The Government of Canada has designated September 30th National Day for Truth and Reconciliation to honour First Nations, Inuit, and Métis children who never returned home from the residential school system in Canada, as well as the survivors, their families, and communities. The recent discovery of the undocumented remains of a growing number of Indigenous children at residential school sites across Canada has highlighted the need for ongoing efforts toward truth and reconciliation.
HiMama acknowledges that our head office in Toronto resides on the traditional territory of many nations including the Mississaugas of the Credit, the Anishnabeg, the Chippewa, the Haudenosaunee, and the Wendat peoples, and is now home to many diverse First Nations, Inuit, and Métis peoples. HiMama also acknowledges that Toronto is covered by Treaty 13 signed with the Mississaugas of the Credit, and the Williams Treaties signed with multiple Mississaugas and Chippewa bands.
Wearing orange to raise awareness
On September 30, encourage your children and staff members to wear orange to raise awareness of the tragic legacy of residential schools, and to honor the thousands of Survivors.
Wearing orange is a symbol of support. You can also teach your children to reflect on the meaning behind it. If anyone at your center purchases an orange shirt for this day, please recommend they buy it from an Indigenous company such as Resist Clothing.
Reading books with your children
Reading books with the children in your classroom can raise awareness and provide insight into the past and the reasons for this day. Try starting with Phyllis’ story “The Orange Shirt Story”.
Also, check out this list of books by Indigenous authors to try next!!
Truth and reconciliation classroom activities
Get your children fully immersed in the subject of truth and reconciliation by organizing the following activities!
- Trace each child’s hand on a large piece of paper. Then, have them write something on it that they can do to help others feel like they matter.
- Music time! Organize a drum circle where children grab various drum-like instruments to play!
- Find rocks around your center and have children paint them in remembrance of the children who were impacted by residential schools.
- Invite any local Elders to come as classroom visitors to discuss their experiences.
- Watch St. Joseph’s Residential School Stories: A YouTube video.
For more information on the origin of Orange Shirt Day, check out this video!