Sept. 30 will mark the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation.
The federal statutory day, which will see the closure of government offices, schools and courts for the day, honours survivors, families and communities impacted by the residential school that was run throughout the country from the late 1800s until the 1990s, as well as the intergenerational trauma Indigenous communities continue to face across the country.
While most government offices and institutions will shut down for the day, private sector employers can observe the day at their discretion, the Yukon government said in a statement.
The Council of Yukon First Nations will be marking the day at the Kwanlin Dün Cultural Centre fire pit from 11 a.m. until 4 p.m. Those attending are encouraged to wear an orange shirt and bring a drum. Counsellors will be on hand to offer support, CYFN stated in a social media post.
The Northern Nations Alliance will be walking from the former Choutla residential school site in Carcross beginning Sept. 29 to the KDCC event. They are expected to arrive in Whitehorse during the afternoon of Sept. 30.
A number of other events to mark the day are are being hosted around the territory.
Many schools held their Orange Shirt Day events on Sept. 27 ahead of two professional development days happening for teachers in the territory.
Yukon University has had its Every Child Matters flag up throughout the month of September. At the school’s Ayamdigut campus in Whitehorse, events are being held throughout the week. They began Sept. 27 with an informal chat about truth and reconciliation in teaching at learning. On Sept. 28, students are invited to pick up an orange t-shirt beading kit at the campus store and join in a beading session between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. in the pit.
Then on Sept. 29 – YukonU Orange Shirt Day, a virtual book reading will be held with Michelle Good, the author of Five Little Indians, from 11 a.m. until 12 p.m. Good will talk about her book and her thoughts on reconciliation.
At 12:15 p.m. a moment of silence and prayer will be held at Roddy’s Camp at the campus.
There is also an online opportunity to hear from Indigenous leaders reflecting on the Calls to Action from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and the meaning of the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation. Registration for the event is available through the Yukon University website.
While there are no classes Sept. 30, the university highlighted the CYFN event at KDCC and noted that on Sept. 30 the Survivors’ Flag will be raised and fly permanently in honour of residential school survivors.
“The Survivors’ Flag is an expression of remembrance, meant to honour residential school survivors and all the lives and communities impacted by the residential school system in Canada,” as is noted on the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation website. “Each element depicted on the flag was carefully selected by survivors from across Canada, who were consulted on the flag’s creation.”
The flag features elements of family, children, the seeds below (representing the children who never returned home), the tree of peace, a cedar branch, cosmic symbolism, the Métis sash, the eagle feather, and the Inuksuit. A full description of each element is available at nctr.ca/exhibits/survivors-flag/
The National Day for Truth and Reconciliation is #80 of the Calls to Action from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and passed by the federal government on June 3, 2021.
Contact Stephanie Waddell at email@example.com