AUMA: Ideas for Commemorating the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation
There are many ways to recognize and commemorate the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation on September 30, regardless of whether your municipality has declared it a holiday.
The National Day for Truth and Reconciliation responds to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s (TRC’s) Call to Action #80 which recommends a statutory holiday to “honour Survivors, their families, and communities, and ensure that public commemoration of the history and legacy of residential schools remains a vital component of the reconciliation process.”
AUMA recently released A Municipal Guide to the TRC’s Calls to Action, designed for municipalities that are beginning their work towards reconciliation. The guide focuses on the TRC’s 12 Calls to Action that AUMA believes are most applicable to municipal governments in Alberta, based on scope of responsibility and ability to influence community support for reconciliation. The guide also offers links to some of the reconciliation plans released by municipalities such as Calgary, Edmonton, Lethbridge, and Canmore. September 30 provides the opportunity to reflect on how your municipality can respond to these calls.
In addition, the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation is hosting a series of online events from September 27 to October 1. These events will enable the public to participate in important conversations, including the truths of the Indigenous treaties, First Nation, Métis and Inuit land claims, and the residential school system.
September 30 is also Orange Shirt Day, which began in 2013 in Williams Lake, B.C., to commemorate the residential school experience, to witness and honour the healing journey of the survivors and their families, and to commit to the ongoing process of reconciliation. The date was chosen because it is the time of year when children were taken from their homes to residential schools, and because it is an opportunity to set the stage for anti-racism and anti-bullying policies for the coming school year. Many municipalities across Canada have passed resolutions and held events in support of Orange Shirt Day.
Over the past few months, AUMA and the Rural Municipalities of Alberta (RMA) have partnered to deliver workshops on Canada’s History and the Municipal Role in Reconciliation. Based on the success of these workshops, we will likely offer more in the New Year.
In the meantime, you might want to take some time on September 30 to read the stories of survivors of the residential school system or books recommended by the workshop’s facilitator Roy Pogorzelski:
- Indigenous Nationhood (Pamela Palmater)
- Reconciliation Manifesto (Arthur Manuel)
- 21 Things You May Not Know About the Indian Act (Bob Joseph)
- How to be an Anti-Racist (Ibram X. Kendi) –
- Clearing the Plains (James Daschuck)
- The Northwest is Our Mother (Jean Teillet)
- White Fragility (Robin Diangelo)
For more information on reconciliation and building welcoming and inclusive communities (WIC) more broadly, visit the WIC section of AUMA’s website.
AUMA is interested in hearing how municipalities are marking the day. Share your ideas and activities with [email protected] so we can gather a list to inspire others in future years.
While AUMA is marking this year’s National Day for Truth and Reconciliation with a holiday, we will be considering how we can meaningfully mark the day going forward through collective acts of learning and service. We look forward to hearing your ideas and sharing our journey as we embark on a path towards reconciliation.