What to do on your first Truth and Reconciliation Day

What to do on your first Truth and Reconciliation Day

Today is the first official Truth and Reconciliation Day here in Canada. I suppose it's a holiday of sorts, but that feels distasteful. Especially now that total of unmarked graves of Indigenous children has reached 3,200.

Most schools are doing events, and discussing the impact and legacy of residential schools in Canada. 

Here's some things you can do to mark the day in your own home.

Read some books by an Indigenous author.

There's plenty of books on the topic of residential schools to give younger kids a view into what it was like. 

For the little guys, toddler and kindergarten age: 

My Heart Fills With Happiness and You Hold Me Up by Monique Grey Smith are about starting to heal and starting the journey of reconciliation. 


For kids in grade school all these books speak more directly about the residential school experience:

Books like I Am Not A Number Jenny Kay Dupuis & Kathy Kacer, illustrated by Gillian Newlandand

Shi-shi-etko by by Nicola I. Campbell

When We Were Alone by David A. Robertson 

For teens and adults, we love these books that speak directly about the impact of residential schools over the generations and the daily inequalities Indigenous Canadians experience.

The Marrow Thieves by Cherie Dimaline

Seven Fallen Feathers by Tanya Talaga


Actively encourage a conversation with someone else about residential schools.

For us, this started with talking to my kids about what they'd been learning in school. Then I just listened to what they took away from those conversations. The things that blew my kids minds about residential schools:

  • "It wasn't a nice school. Those kids did get to have a fun school like I do"
  • "They cut their hair off!"
  • "The teachers didn't care about them."
  • "They didn't get to go home to their families."
  • "They weren't allowed to speak their language and then they didn't have anyone to talk to."

Make a donation.

Canada Helps has a long list of Indigenous non-profits here.


"It's time to drum for the children"

The Tk'emlúps te Secwépemc Nation has shared a video to help people learn the Secwépemc Honour Song to drum and sing at 2:15 p.m. Pacific time on Sept. 30.

Here's the link to live event.

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