The National Day for Truth and Reconciliation on September 30th is designated as an opportunity to recognize and commemorate the legacy of residential schools. It was originally proposed in 2015 by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada; Call to Action #80 called upon the federal government, in collaboration with Indigenous peoples, to establish a statutory holiday “to honour Survivors, their families, and communities, and ensure that public commemoration of the history and legacy of residential schools remains a vital component of the reconciliation process.”

September 30th has been observed since 2013 as Orange Shirt Day, a movement to recognize the colonial legacy of residential schools and commit to the ongoing process of reconciliation. Orange Shirt Day recalls the experience of residential school Survivor Phyllis Webstad.

Rise Consulting, who YPAC partners with on our Indigenous Inclusion Committee, has worked with Leah Dorion, an interdisciplinary Metis Artist, to launch their first Rise Orange Shirt campaign.

To honour September 30th, through the creation of their first shirt, Leah depicted our value of “community”, a circle of people holding hands. We have decided that this year all proceeds will be donated to the Metis Nation of British Columbia Youth Programs and we have chosen to include “Kaakiyow Aen pchi taafaan” on the shirt which translates in the Michif language as “Every Child”.

Shirts can be purchased online at: http://www.riseconsultingltd.ca/orange-shirts

Reconciliation and the Law

As part of the Rise Sharing Knowledge series, Sandy Carpenter and Annie Korver are leading a discussion about Reconciliation and the Law, on October 5, 2021, from 12-1pm MDT.

Reconciliation can be shaped by many forces. One of the greatest influences on reconciliation (or not) in Canada has been “the law”, including Canada’s Constitution. In the not-so-distant past, Canada’s Constitution established which level of non-Indigenous government could impose policies on Indigenous Peoples, including lands and culture. More recently, constitutional change has led to the recognition and definition of Aboriginal rights, the imposition of the duty to consult and accommodate and the Honour of the Crown, and, arguably, accelerated Indigenous Peoples’ participation in Canada’s economy and society. 

Grab your lunch (if it’s lunch time) and join Sandy and Annie as they explore the intersection between reconciliation, “the law” and the rising presence of Indigenous Peoples in Canada, including the incredible growth of the Indigenous economy and stories of co-creation between Indigenous communities and corporate Canada. There will be time for questions prior to the end of the session and ensure we’re done a few minutes before the hour so you have time to prepare for whatever is next in your day.

All event proceeds will be donated to NiGinNan Housing Ventures, an organization dedicated to providing supportive affordable housing opportunities for Indigenous people in Edmonton, Alberta. 

To RSVP: https://www.eventbrite.ca/x/reconciliation-and-the-law-tickets-170049262923

On June 3, 2021 Canada announced a new Statutory Holiday stating in 2021. On September 30th is recognized as the National Day of Truth and Reconciliation across Canada in support of the 94 Calls to Action Report.  As we give space and time for Canada’s first Truth and Reconciliation Day this day may also bring many difficult feelings and insights as we reflect on the harmful events of Residential School Systems. Be supportive to your community; bring awareness and open discussions on the impacts from the past and how it continues to impact current day lives. From the previous IIC blog post:  Kamloops Indian Residential School Preliminary Findings 215 Buried Children – YPAC (ypacanada.com) many communities within Canada continue to bring awareness about the tragedy that continues to haunt survivors, family members, Indigenous and non-Indigenous communities by conducting independent unveiling of unmarked graves. Our healing has only just begun but with the help of YPAC members participating in Indigenous Inclusion Committee we can share the weight communities bring to light for a safe space of Indigenous perspectives.

This photo was taken at a spot where I felt connected to create this blog post for YPAC and is of the Peace River south of Fort St. John, BC in my home territory of Treaty 8. Reconciliation means so many things to so many people and to me it’s an opportunity to share my culture to members of YPAC and provide my experience and knowledge within the Pipeline Industry for greater Indigenous Inclusion. The Peace River is a significant cultural body of water, not only is it a large water way separates the valley into two but it also belongs to a story of the Cree and Denezaa (Beaver) people. During the late 18th century, Eurpoean-Canadians opened the Peace River area to fur trading in 1794. The Peace River received its name for the settling of conflict between the Beaver and Cree Nations so both communities could live in prosper. The Beaver Nation would reside north of the Peace River and the Cree Nation lived south of the Peace Region. There are many stories about the Peace River and how it has received its name; this is only one of many stories. Each Nation will have their own unique culture, names, language, harvesting, songs and stories tied to the land each one is valued by individual perspectives backed up with experiences on being on the land.

We hope everyone continues to learn, invite conversations and engage with Indigenous communities within your organization, at home and within day-to-day life journey.

YPAC Region Events:

Vancouver – https://dailyhive.com/vancouver/truth-and-reconciliation-day-events-metro-vancouver

Calgary – Truth and Reconciliation Family Learning

Edmonton – https://www.todocanada.ca/things-to-do-to-honour-national-day-for-truth-and-reconciliation-in-edmonton-what-is-open-closed-on-sept-30th/

SW Ontario – Turtle Island Healing Walk

Toronto – https://www.toronto.ca/explore-enjoy/festivals-events/indigenous-events-awards/national-day-for-truth-reconciliation/

Montreal – https://dailyhive.com/montreal/montreal-national-day-truth-reconciliation-events

Atlantic – Mi’kmaw Native Friendship Center hosts a Weekend of Reconciliation on the Halifax Waterfront.