September 30th marks the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation – also known as Orange Shirt Day. It is dedicated to honouring survivors of the residential school system, the children who never returned home, and their families and communities. It serves as a reminder of the tragic history and ongoing legacies of the residential school system in Canada. Orange Shirt Day was inspired by Phyllis (Jack) Webstad’s story, a survivor of the St. Joseph Mission Residential School. Click here to learn more about Phyllis’ story and the origin of Orange Shirt Day.
The National Day for Truth and Reconciliation is a day to be spent learning and unlearning, and celebrating Indigenous strength and resiliency. Explore these meaningful events throughout Simcoe County, where you can actively participate and support the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation.
SACRED FIRE AND SHARING CIRCLE
The Sacred Fire and Sharing Circle, hosted by the Barrie Native Friendship Centre (BNFC) at the Spirit Catcher in Downtown Barrie, stands as a poignant commemoration of the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, dedicated to honouring all those affected by the residential schools. It is a testament to our commitment to nurturing relationships rooted in respect and reciprocity. Various guests will join the sacred circle throughout the day, sharing their insights and experiences related to truth and reconciliation, intergenerational trauma, the resilience and beauty of Indigenous communities, and the collective journey toward a brighter future through healing together. For more information, click here.
SAINTE-MARIE AMONG THE HURONS
Sainte-Marie, among the Hurons, invites all to partake in a day of deep self-reflection and engagement on the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation. This enlightening journey invites attendees to observe, learn from, and connect with Indigenous speakers and cultural specialists, fostering education and awareness in the pursuit of truth and reconciliation. Throughout the day, attendees can engage in activities such as film screenings, a sacred fire with cedar offerings, and personal reflection exercises. To learn more, click here.
MIDLAND COMMUNITY HEALTH HUB
The Midland Community Health Hub invites you from 9 to 11 a.m. for a gathering of unity and reflection on National Day for Truth and Reconciliation. The day’s opening ceremony will commence at 9 a.m., marked by the lighting of the sacred fire, a smudge prayer, powerful drumming, soul-stirring songs, and enlightening words emphasizing the importance of this momentous occasion. Throughout the event, you can engage in diverse educational activities designed to deepen your understanding of Indigenous history, traditions, and culture as our nation collectively takes steps toward a more inclusive and empathetic community. For more information, click here.
If you would like to learn more about the residential school system – and truth and reconciliation check out these resources:
HOPE FOR WELLNESS HELPLINE
Discussions of the residential school system and its intergenerational traumas can be distressing for some, especially those who identify as Indigenous. If you are an Indigenous person who requires support, please access the Hope for Wellness Helpline. The Helpline offers immediate help to all Indigenous Peoples across Canada. Call the toll-free Helpline at 1-855-242-3310 or connect to the online chat at www.hopeforwellness.ca.