Why is September 30 Truth and Reconciliation Day?

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By: Sophie Craciunescu

Orange Shirt Day is taking place at MD, and it is important to learn about the meaning behind this nationally recognized event. Orange Shirt Day was first recognized in 2013 and started with the real story of Phyllis Webstad of the Stswecem’c Xgat’tem First Nation, a residential school survivor. The federal government officially named September 30th the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation in June 2021, to honor and remember children and families affected by residential schools. 

These schools were created in 1894 by the Canadian government and Catholic Church, and were intended to assimilate Indigenous children into European Canadian society. Residential schools stripped Indigenous youth of their culture and language against their will. Children were taken from their homes and families, and forced into the system. Many children never returned and communities are still looking for their loved ones today. 

Now, 25 years after the last residential school closed, the voices of survivors are finally being amplified. By listening to them, we learn about their experiences, and hopefully find a path to reconciliation. 

Expand your learning

To learn more about Phyllis Webstad’s story, watch her Orange Shirt Day presentation below.