In advance of Orange Shirt Day and the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation on September 30, and Indigenous Peoples’ Day on October 9, we have compiled a list of actions recommended by Indigenous advisors and partners as a way for you to deepen your understanding and undertake meaningful action.
- Reflect on the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples: It establishes a universal framework of minimum standards for the survival, dignity and well-being of the indigenous peoples of the world and it elaborates on existing human rights standards and fundamental freedoms as they apply to the specific situation of Indigenous peoples.
- Reflect on the Calls to Action by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission: In order to redress the legacy of residential schools and advance the process of reconciliation, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission has made these calls to action.
- Engage in the Truth and Reconciliation Educational Programs for Reconciliation Week offered by the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation
- Read the story behind Orange Shirt Day: September 30th has been declared Orange Shirt Day annually, in recognition of the harm the residential school system did to children’s sense of self-esteem and well being, and as an affirmation of our commitment to ensure that everyone around us matters.
- Raise an Every Child Matters Flag: Each flag comes with your own copy of the Calls to Action by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission that you can read and share, and $15 from each flag is directed equally between the Orange Shirt Society, The Legacy Of Hope Foundation and the Residential School Survivors Society.
- Participate in the 4 Seasons of Indigenous Learning initiative: We offer this as an acknowledgement that authentically undertaking a personal learning journey towards Truth and Reconciliation takes more than just a day or month each year, but should be across all four seasons.
- Register for Classrooms to Communities: Connecting to Land through Indigenous Learning – Join educators and other leaders from across Turtle Island to connect ourselves to the land through learning and Indigenous perspectives.
- Register for Connecting Children to Nature through Indigenous Teachings: Join Indigenous Author Launa as she shares about Heartbeat of the Earth – a Handbook on Connecting Children to Nature through Indigenous Teachings.
- Order Indigenous Learning Resources: Written, created and curated by Indigenous authors, artists and educators, these resources are excellent for deepening your knowledge and understanding.
- Listen in to the Earthy Chats Podcast featuring Indigenous Educators (Episodes 3, 5, 6, 12, 14)
- Watch Residential School Survivor Stories: These are offered by the Legacy of Hope Foundation which is one of the organizations we are supporting through the sale of our Every Child Matters flag. It is by sharing and learning about these truths that we can all continue to work toward understanding and healing.
- Read The Importance of Indigenous Perspectives in Children’s Environmental Inquiry: This resource supports a stronger basic awareness of Indigenous perspectives and their importance to environmental education. To learn more, tune into our virtual workshop recording with Natural Curiosity.
- Enhance your learning of local Indigenous languages: First Voices is an online space for Indigenous communities to share and promote language, oral culture and linguistic history.
- Read Braiding Sweetgrass: In this best selling book, celebrated author Robin Wall Kimmerer circles toward a central argument: that the awakening of ecological consciousness requires the acknowledgment and celebration of our reciprocal relationship with the rest of the living world. We now also have Braiding Sweetgrass for Young Adults available.
- Order Books for Students that share Indigenous culture and knowledge such as Sila and the Land and The Heart of a River for Elementary Students, and for Secondary Students, Groundswell: Indigenous Knowledge and a Call to Action for Climate Change.
- Read the Raven Activity Guide: On pages 12-15 there are actions that people can take to be an ally.
- Read the Final Report of the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls: The National Inquiry’s Final Report reveals that persistent and deliberate human and Indigenous rights violations and abuses are the root cause behind the staggering rates of violence against Indigenous women, girls and 2SLGBTQQIA people.
- Participate in Della’s Story Online Escape Room created by the Urban Society for Aboriginal Youth (USAY)
- Learn about the Witness Blanket: this contains over 800 items gathered from sites and Survivors of Indian residential schools so future generations can continue bearing witness to its presentation of the genocide committed against the original peoples of this land.
- Learn more about the local land: Access Indigenous resources such as the Pacific Northwest Plant Cards, syilx plants & animals guide or the Ktunaxa Ethnobotany Handbook to deepen your connection to place.
- Learn Locally: Take each and every week to deepen your knowledge of the Indigenous peoples of your area.
In the Every Child Matters flag above, Carol Louie, well known Ktunaxa artist, provided the art for the feather and ideas for the design. Robert Louie (Ktunaxa) and Denice Louie (Athabascan) completed the design work in collaboration with their summer youth worker Gabe Kobasiuk (Cree). Robert Louie is a residential school survivor. Most of his siblings also went to residential school.
“The heart with the broken lines was used to show how the residential school affected our people, our connections, our teachings. Though fractured, the hearts of our people continue and remain strong. And in all of our hearts, at the center of our communities are the little ones, our future – represented by the child’s hand. The eagle feather honours and recognizes all the children who were forced into residential school.”