September 30th is the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, also known as Orange Shirt Day. This day is meant for people to reflect on the history of residential schools, and the survivors that live on today.

Many families wonder how they can recognize Orange Shirt Day. Here are a few tips that can help you learn more about the importance of this day:

  • Wear orange to show your support for Indigenous children, youth, and families. Orange Shirt Day is an Indigenous-led initiative intended to raise awareness of the impacts of residential schools, and to promote the concept of “Every Child Matters”.
  • Read books and stories that tell the story of residential school in age-appropriate language. Here are a few examples:
      1. Phyllis’s Orange Shirt by Phyllis Webstad (Ages 4-6).
      2. Stolen Words by Melanie Florence (Ages 4-8).
      3. Speaking our Truth: A Journey of Reconciliation by Monique Gray Smith (Ages 9-13).
  • Watch a short video of Phyllis Webstad explaining the meaning of Orange Shirt Day and recounting her memories at a residential school: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E3vUqr01kAk
  • Learn about the land you live on. Did you know that the FCSS service area is located on Blackfoot Territory (Treaty 7). This is home to the Kainai (Blood Tribe), Piikani Nation, and the Siksika Nation. It is also home to the Metis Nation of Alberta, Region 3.
  • Choose one of the many Orange Shirt Day activities that are available to you and your family on the Orange Shirt Day website: https://orangeshirtday.org/reconciliation-hub/for-teachers/

FCSS offers free culturally sensitive programming for Indigenous families with children 0-18 years, parent education and support, and assistance with system navigation. For more information about FCSS’s Indigenous Family Liaison Program, contact Christie Saddleback at 403-915-7530.

Truth and Reconciliation Day can be difficult for many families who have experienced residential school. If you are a former residential school student and are experiencing crisis, please call 1-866-925-4419. Indigenous peoples across Canada can also call the Hope for Wellness Help Line 24 hours a day, 7 days a week for counselling and crisis intervention 1-855-242-3310.