Saturday, September 30th, marks the third National Day of Truth and Reconciliation in Canada. It coincides with Orange Shirt Day, a grassroots commemoration marked by the wearing of Orange Shirts for children forced to leave their families and attend residential schools.
The National Day of Truth and Reconciliation is an important step in the reconciliation process. It provides an opportunity to recognize and commemorate the tragic history and ongoing legacy of residential schools, and to honour their survivors, their families and communities. This day also offers us an opportunity to live into the Action for Reconciliation statement that the Christian Reformed Church made at the TRC in 2015. This statement said in part, “We have been honoured to witness the expressions of truth in the TRC, and in them have seen a sacred momentum of reconciliation and hope. Because of this hope, and with the help of our Indigenous neighbours and Creator God, we are committed to turning from the systemic evils behind colonialism and living into a sacred call of unity and reconciliation.”
We have put together some further resources for your own personal reflection, which are listed below.
“Reconciliation is not a one-time event; it is a multi-generational journey that involves all Canadians.”
- Wear an orange shirt. Beginning in 2013 as a grassroots program in Williams Lake, BC as part of a commemoration project and reunion event for survivors of St. Joseph’s Mission (SJM) Residential School. To learn more about the history behind Orange Shirt day, click here.
- Attend a local event:
- Skookum Surrey ceremony at Holland Park (13428 Old Yale Road) from 3:00 to 5:00 pm on September 29th, hosted by the Surrey Urban Indigenous Committee. They also hold events throughout the year celebrating Indigenous Culture.
- Telling the Good Story at Mary Pattison Chapel (Pacific Academy - 10238 168th Street) from 10:00-11:30 on Saturday. With Terry Wildman, the lead translator of the First Nations Version of the New Testament and Rain and Song, the music of Terry and Darlene Wildman.
- On Sept. 30, the Semiahmoo First Nation (SFN) invites the public on its third annual Walk for Truth and Reconciliation from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. The walk begins at Grand Chief Bernard Robert Charles Memorial Plaza on White Rock’s East Beach near the house posts and ends at Semiahmoo Park, with programming and activities into the afternoon. The event includes youth speakers, SFN youth dancers, a performance by Indigenous women’s harmonizer and drum group M’Girl, a kids activity station and face painting, an Indigenous artisan marketplace, and complimentary chili and bannock. Free parking will be available at Semiahmoo Park in the SFN lot at East Beach, below Washington Avenue Grill.
- For more local ways to observe the day in Surrey and in the Lower Mainland, click here and here.
All Canadians must take part in this process, which means that congregations need to work towards reconciling with our Aboriginal neighbours.
- For background information you can explore the rich and diverse cultures, voices, experiences and stories of the First Nations, Inuit, and Métis peoples by checking the Canadian Heritage Truth and Reconciliation Day website.
- Learn more about the history by reading a book. The Surrey Library has put together a list of books for Orange Shirt Day. The book "21 Things You May Not Know About the Indian Act" is also available at our church library. The church library also put together a list of books that are available at Regent College.
- Visit the website for the National Centre of Truth and Reconciliation.
- Know whose land you're on and more at native-land.ca. The church is on the territories of the Coast Salish Peoples; the Katzie, Tsawwassen, Sto:lo, Wsanec and Kwantlen.
- Read the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP)
- Read the 94 Calls to Action from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada.
- Explore the Truth and Reconciliation Calls to Action with your kids and grandchildren
- From 2015, when the Truth and Reconciliation Report was released, "Residential Schools are Our Story"
May we learn from our LORD and “exercise kindness, justice, and righteousness on the Earth” as we seek pathways of reconciliation (Jeremiah 9:24).
Reflect and Engage
- Listen to this 2023 podcast from the Christian Reformed Centre for Public Dialogue and Office of Social Justice.
- In addition, you are invited to listen to this 2021 podcast and 2022 podcast from the previous National Days of Truth and Reconciliation. "This reflection is designed to take approximately an hour and we recommend that you take space to listen and reflect. You will be guided through three calls to action from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission with prayer and reflection prompts." You can also read some reflections on what this day and reconciliation means for a few Indigenous Christians.
- This week, the National Centre for Truth & Reconciliation is putting on a free online speaking series for Truth & Reconciliation Week every day from 10:30 to 11:20 a.m. PDT. Topics include the history of residential schools, unconscious bias and debunking stereotypes, intergenerational impacts and ongoing systemic discrimination, Indigenous Peoples’ rights and taking action toward reconciliation.
- Additionally, from the Christian Reformed Centre for Public Dialogue and Office of Social Justice: Five ways to embody and engage reconciliation
- Join a group at Fleetwood CRC that is taking a close look at the steps of racial reconciliation through the lens of Be The Bridge: Pursuing God’s Heart for Racial Reconciliation by Latasha Morrison. This study applies content specific to Canadian historical and cultural context.
Our future, and the well-being of all our children rests with the kind of relationships we build today.
- Chief Dr. Robert Joseph
- Let’s pray these words from Colossians 1:20 in the FNV “Through his Son he brought together everything in the spirit-world above and on the earth below into harmony with himself, making peace through his life-blood poured out on the cross.” Creator God, bring your harmony into our relationships. Help us to see the areas where there is brokenness and to join your peacemaking work. (Source: Centre for Public Dialogue and Office of Social Justice)
As our LORD has taught us, may we exercise kindness, justice, and righteousness on the Earth as we each seek out and journey down pathways of reconciliation with our Indigenous and non-Indigenous neighbours.
Donate and Support
- Our offering this week will be for NAIM: Tim and Charity Johnson. Tim and Charity desire to see Shuswap First Nations youth and young families grounded and strong in their identity and love for each other and their surrounding communities… with the knowledge and understanding of who Creator is and the love He has for all people.
- Be kind and show consideration to Indigenous communities who are hurting and mourning as they reflect on their history.
- Support a local, indigenous owned business. Visit the Indigenous BC website, for indigenous owned restaurants, accommodations and cultural experiences in British Columbia.
We as a church community need to recognize that this history is our history. It shapes who we were, who we are, and who we will become. Let us take this opportunity to shape our future for the good.