National Day for Truth and Reconciliation: An opportunity for healing and reflection 

The National Day for Truth and Reconciliation is a day of hope and healing for those impacted by the horrors of the residential school system, and who continue to be triggered and retraumatized through the ongoing confirmation of unmarked graves. 

Communities across Canada have borne witness to the tragic confirmation of more than 1,100 unmarked graves at the sites of former residential schools since May 2021. That number grows each month as the search for truth continues. 

The history of Orange Shirt Day 

The National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, also known as Orange Shirt Day, was lobbied for by many Indigenous people, allies and organizations. Most notably, it was anchored around the story of Phyllis (Jack) Webstad, who began sharing her Orange Shirt Day story in Williams Lake, B.C. in 2013.  

PSAC continues to build trust with First Nations, Inuit and Métis members across the country and works to build more inclusive workplaces that reflect the unique lived experiences of Indigenous peoples. We rely on the knowledge and teachings of our National Indigenous Peoples Circle to learn about and incorporate Indigenous ways of knowing and being into the work we do as a union. 

As we look to the past for truth, we must acknowledge that we made mistakes and we may continue to make mistakes. But it is how we move forward together along the path of reconciliation that will heal us all and allow us to move forward for generations to come. 

How to mark the day 

Indigenous communities call on all Canadians to better understand the harmful history and legacy of the residential school system and the inter-generational impacts it has had on Indigenous people. As allies, it’s time for us to listen and take action. 

PSAC has also compiled additional resources to use on September 30 and after to learn, reflect, and consider how you can take meaningful action on reconciliation. 

The star quilt graphic was designed by Georgina Metzler, an Anishinaabe artist and graphic designer who lives in Calgary, Alberta. Learn more about the artist and the meaning behind the work. 

September 23, 2022