A New National Holiday and a Time for Reflection
September marks back to school time. For many families, this is an exciting time filled with hope for new beginnings and opportunities for their beloved children, but for some this has not always been the case.
The first National Day of Truth and Reconciliation was established in 2021, to bring increased awareness to the many children whose return to school did not mean returning to a place of nurturing safety. It is a day of reflection, of learning and unlearning about Canada’s past and present treatment of Indigenous peoples, and a day to begin a new year of action.
In 2015, The Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada published their 94 Calls to Action. This is a document that holds all Canadians accountable to take steps towards healing the intergenerational effects the Residential School System and the still existing Indian Act. Job number one for all Canadians this September 30th would be reading the 94 Calls to Action either for the first time, or as a reminder of what still needs to be accomplished to rebuild the very tarnished relationship between the peoples of this country.
Additionally, you could check out Yellowhead Insitute’s Calls to Action Accountability: A 2021 Status Update on Reconciliation. Yellowhead Institute is an Indigenous-led research and education centre. Yellowhead privileges Indigenous philosophy and amplifies Indigenous voices, providing us with valuable insight into the progress towards Reconciliation from and Indigenous perspective.
Many of us, will be fortunate this year to be given a day off work to contemplate what Truth and Reconciliation means to each of us, and we encourage you to seek these meanings out in both in your personal and professional spheres. As a library system, we’d first like to recommend the vast array of books we have that can enhance your understanding of the need for this newly recognized holiday. Check out this month’s staff reading list titled Honouring Truth and Reconciliation for ideas on adult content, with one or two books also aimed at younger audiences.
Is film and television more your speed? Check out our catalogue for films such as: Raven Tales, Indian Horse and Angry Inuk, visit our free online streaming service Kanopy for titles such as: Native Planet Program 3 and A Life Worth Living, or visit other hosts like APTN for a vast array of Indigenous content. In seeking out these learning opportunities, anyone can take steps to increasing their experience with truth.
That leads to the more challenging goal of reconciliation. What steps can every individual and organization take towards healing the relationship between Indigenous groups and Settler Canadians? One step can be to support Indigenous organizations like the Orange Shirt Day project which educate and empower.
This month, SDG Library is fundraising to support the Orange Shirt Day initiative. We’ve used our 3D Printers to print orange feathers, which we’re turning into keychains and bookmarks. We’ve set the price at $2, which allows us to provide 50% of the cost of these items to the Orange Shirt Day Charity, and we’re seeking your help to make this campaign a success.
Our fundraiser will run from September 19-September 29, so don’t forget to stop by your local SDG Library Branch to support this initiative! Together, we can make Truth and Reconciliation a reality.