Each year, September 30 marks the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation. The day honours the children who never returned home and survivors of residential schools, as well as their families and communities.
There were 140 federally run residential schools in Canada that operated between 1831 and 1998. The last school closed less than 25 years ago. Survivors advocated for recognition and reparations and demanded accountability for the intergenerational impacts of harms caused. Public commemoration of the tragic and painful history and ongoing impacts of residential schools is a vital component of the reconciliation process.
Both the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation and Orange Shirt Day take place on September 30.
An Indigenous-led grassroots commemorative day intended to raise awareness of the individual, family and community intergenerational impacts of residential schools, Orange Shirt Day promotes the concept of “Every Child Matters”. The orange shirt is a symbol of the stripping away of culture, freedom and self-esteem experienced by Indigenous children over many generations.
Museums and Archives Have an Active Role To Play
In June 2015, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) held its closing event in Ottawa and presented the executive summary of the findings including 94 “calls to action” to further reconciliation between Indigenous peoples and all Canadians.
At MONOVA, we feel strongly that museums and archives have an active role to play in responding to these TRC calls to action. Calls to action 67 to 70 speak directly to the role that museums and archives play in achieving reconciliation.
In 2019, British Columbia became the first province in Canada to legally commit to bringing its laws up to the standards outlined in the U.N. Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP).
- Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada: Calls to Action
- BC Legislation on the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous peoples
MONOVA’s work with the Indigenous Voices Advisory Committee on the Memoranda of Understanding between MONOVA and the Sḵwx̱wú7mesh and Səl̓ílwətaɬ Nations represents a meaningful step towards Truth and Reconciliation. The memoranda were signed the day before MONOVA: Museum of North Vancouver opened in December 2021.
Orange Shirt Day: Community Voices
Orange Shirt Day is a time for you to be heard – a step not only for people to feel empowered but a heartwarming move forward on the healing journey.
As we approach Orange Shirt Day on September 30, we invite you to share your thoughts and reflections about Truth and Reconciliation on paper orange shirts.
Join us during the month of September and share your voice. These “community voices” will be publicly displayed until October 2022 as part of MONOVA’s Truth and Reconciliation Day activities.
Admission to MONOVA: Museum of North Vancouver is free for those who self-identify as Indigenous
Learn More About Truth And Reconciliation
Indigenous Cultural Programmer Tsawaysia Spukwus (Alice Guss) has identified a number of resources to help continue learning about Truth and Reconciliation. Take a look.
- The MONOVA Museum Store features a number of books about Truth and Reconciliation including:
- Peace Pipe Dreams: The Truth and Lies about Indians by Darrell Dennis
- Me Tomorrow: Indigenous Views on the Future by Drew Hayden Taylor
- Call Me Indian by Fred Sasakamoose
- The Strangers by Katherena Vermette
- They Called Me Number One by Bev Sellars
- Standoff: Why Reconciliation Fails Indigenous People and How to Fix It by Bruce McIvor
- Indian Horse by Richard Wagamese
- Price Paid by Bev Sellars
- On the Cusp of Contact: Gender, Space and Race in the Colonization of British Columbia by Jean Barman
- Probably Ruby by Lisa Bird-Wilson
- Unreconciled by Jesse Wente
- Groundswell: Indigenous Knowledge and a Call to Action for Climate Change edited by Joe Neidhardt and Nicole Neidhardt
- The CBC podcast The Secret Life of Canada explores the Indian Act and the many ways this 143 year old policy is embedded in Canadian identity today.
- Last year, the Squamish Public Library hosted Squamish Nation Elders and Residential School survivors who generously shared their stories. Watch the full video here. These elders included:
- Kiyowil Bob Baker (who attended St. Michael’s in Alert Bay)
- Chésha7 Gwen Harry (who attended St. Michael’s in Alert Bay)
- Humteya Shirley Toman (who attended St. Paul’s in North Vancouver)
- YouTube Channel of Coast Salish songs created by Dallas Guss.
Mental health supports available
Former residential school students can call 1-866-925-4419 for emotional crisis referral services and information on other health supports from the Government of Canada.
Indigenous peoples across Canada can also go to The Hope for Wellness Help Line 24 hours a day, 7 days a week for counselling and crisis intervention.
Call the toll-free Help Line at 1-855-242-3310 or connect to the online chat.
We rely on contributions, monthly or one-time gifts, to help MONOVA safeguard and expand our community’s archival and museum collections, build learning experiences and inspire future generations.
Donations are accepted through the Friends of the North Vancouver Museum & Archives Society, Registered Charity No. 89031 1772 RR0001.
We respectfully acknowledge that MONOVA: Museum and Archives of North Vancouver is located on the traditional lands of the Sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish), and Səl̓ílwətaɬ (Tsleil-Waututh) First Nations, whose ancestors have lived here for countless generations. We are grateful for the opportunity to live, work and learn with them on unceded Coast Salish Territory.