Truth and Reconciliation Week – Events and Resources

By Mikelle Sasakamoose a UCTE member – Local 20219

Next week has been dubbed National Truth and Reconciliation Week and we will see the first, ever, National Day for Truth and Reconciliation on Thursday, Sept. 30.

The Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Call to Action #57 refers to the responsibility of all federal departments to educate employees on the history of Indigenous peoples in Canada, including their cultural and treaty rights.

Having endorsed the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, Canada has committed to a nation-to-nation relationship that recognizes Indigenous Peoples as equal partners.

Events that are happening virtually:

  • The University of BC is hosting virtual the event Picking up the Pieces: The Making of the Witness Blanket film screening and conversation with Kwagiulth master carver Carey Newman and his sisters Marion and Ellen on Sept. 21. Inspired to know more about his father’s time at residential school, Kwagiulth master carver and artist Carey Newman created the Witness Blanket – a wall-sized monument that commemorates the experiences of residential Survivors and their families, as well as the children who didn’t make it home. Register here.
  • Truth and Reconciliation Weekis a 5-day national event, Sept. 27 to Oct. 1, that will continue the conversations from Every Child Matters. Important conversations including the truths of the Indigenous treaties, First Nation, Métis and Inuit land claims, and the residential schools system. This online event will provide historical workshops, exclusive video content, and activities for students — all supported by artistic and cultural performances by First Nations, Métis, and Inuit artists. The National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation is hosting these events all week. The general public can register here.
  • To mark the occasion of the inaugural National Day of Truth and Reconciliation, intergenerational survivor of the Indian Residential School system, Elder Heather Poitras welcomes you to join her on a journey of truth, reconciliation and healing. Through teachings and belief in the Higher Power, she strives to help the people –as she was taught to do. In this session, Elder Heather will humbly share her experience and cultural teachings that have helped her better develop her connection to self and support her on the path to healing. The event will take place Sept. 27, 10:00 to 11:30 am PST on MS Teams. Poster attached.
  • Canada School Public Service and the Prairie Federal Council are hosting the webcast: Marking the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation on Sept. 29. The guest speakers will share their thoughts and insights on what those experiences mean for Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples in Canada as we continue the journey of truth and reconciliation. Register here.
  • On the evening of Sept. 29th, virtually join the Squamish Library in honouring and listening to Squamish Nation Elders, survivors of Canada’s Indian Residential School system.  For more information or to register, visit the website.
  • Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc wishes to involve the world in recognizing the very first Canadian National Day of Truth and Reconciliation. After a global outpouring of interest and support for the missing children from the Kamloops Indian Residential School. Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc is offering a way for people to connect, support and ground into the importance of Sept. 30. On this very first Canadian National Day of Truth and Reconciliation, Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc  is calling upon people around the world to gather –safely– to drum and sing for the missing children of Indian Residential Schools. It’s time to honour the children, and the unrelenting spirit of these Ancestors. For more information or to join virtually, visit their website.
  • The University of BC is hosting an Intergenerational March to commemorate Orange Shirt Day on Sept. 30. For more information, visit the website.
  • For a list of Orange Shirt Day events throughout BC, visit the Orange Shirt Day website.
  • Finding Our Place: Beading and Weaving our Culture Together is an example of living culture. The items on display are not only beautiful but are inherently functional objects. They are used in the day-to-day, but also carry within them teachings for the younger generations. Part of the purpose of this exhibition is to relocate Indigenous culture, particularly weaving and beading in the now. The exhibit is on display at the North Vancouver Community Arts Council Gallery Oct. 8 through to Nov. 13.


  • Cultural Competency: Indigenous Perspectives is a course designed to help employees develop cultural competencies to build positive and respectful relationships with Indigenous Peoples in the public service.
  • Taking Steps Towards Indigenous Reconciliation is an online self-paced course supports the government’s commitment to reconciliation by exploring in depth the four recurring themes of the Indigenous Learning Series: recognition, respect, relationships, and reconciliation.
  • Land Back: A Yellowhead Institute Red Paper is a project about reclaiming Indigenous jurisdiction: breathing life into rights and responsibilities. This Red Paper is about how Canada dispossesses Indigenous peoples from the land, and in turn, what communities are doing to get it back.
  • In the podcast Matriarch Movement, host Shayla Oulette Stonechild shares stories of Indigenous women, from Canada to Turtle Island and beyond. Through interviews where issues facing Indigenous women are brought to light, and with portraits that challenge the mainstream narrative around Indigenous identity, Matriarch Movement offers up a new category of Indigenous role models, to inspire the next seven generations.
  • Indigenous law exists in much the same way the common law does. It is living law grounded in Indigenous customs and traditions. It does not need to be validated by treaty, legislation, or judicial pronouncement to be part of Canadian law. But to be applied by Canadian courts, evidence of Indigenous law has to be presented through testimony by Elders, knowledge-keepers, and other experts. Read Indigenous Law and the Common Law here.
  • The Indian Act vs Self-Determination, a table outlining the differences between legislation and a way of life.
  • The Centre for First Nations Governance models effective First Nations governance on five important pillars. They are: The People | The Land | Laws & Jurisdiction |Governing Systems | Resources. These five pillars were developed through extensive consultations with First Nations citizens, leaders, elders, academics and on-the-ground facilitators associated with the Centre for First Nations Governance. The pillars blend the traditional values of our respective nations with the modern realities of self-governance.
  • For thousands of years, the Indigenous people of what is now Canadaorganized themselves as sovereign nations, with what was essentially governmental jurisdiction over their lands, including property rights. Thoserights — of governance and property — were trampled in the stampede of European settlement, colonization and commercial interests. But they were never lost or extinguished. A Brief History of Our Right to Self-Governance Pre-Contact to Present is a brief historic account of the rights inherited by citizens of today’s First Nations, Learn about the erosion of property and governance rights through the dark periods of colonization and marginalization, and ultimately, their affirmation in Canada’s constitution and recognition in Canadian law.
  • Reconciliation with Indigenous Peoples involves looking back at our history from an Indigenous perspective. The Uncomfortable Truth: A Brief History of the Relationship Between Indigenous Peoples and the Government of Canada is an online self-paced course provides an overview of the historical relationship between Indigenous Peoples and the Government of Canada, from first contact to the present-day focus on rebuilding this foundational relationship. Participants will benefit from a broader understanding of the impacts of government decisions on Indigenous Peoples and Indigenous communities.
  • The Canadian Bar Association of BC (CBABC) acknowledges with sorrow and regret the significant harm done to Indigenous peoples, families, and communities as a result of the role the legal profession played in the implementation and enforcement of assimilationist government laws and policies. The CBA has developed a truth and reconciliation toolkit to help firms create their own Reconciliation Response Plan. It can be used as a guide to begin or extend your reconciliation journey. Each curated section includes examples, templates and important links.
  • The BC Museums Association has posted a collection of events and resources on their website honouring Orange Shirt Day and the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation.

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