Tomorrow is the first National Day for Truth and Reconciliation and in recognition of this important occasion, most of our Webnames team will be off. We have decided as a group that we want to take this day to honour, observe, listen, and learn about Indigenous experiences, the intergenerational harm caused by residential schools and experienced so profoundly in indigenous communities, acknowledge the injustice of this, and participate in acts of reconciliation. As just one small business among more than 1.2-million in Canada, we hope others will join us on this day and do the same.
We feel that it’s important to acknowledge that while we will be doing this imperfectly, we own the responsibility and initiative to educate ourselves, and not place this burden on Indigenous leaders and communities. It’s our responsibility to increase cultural sensitivity in our workplace, and develop stronger business relationships with Indigenous organizations and groups – something we are actively working on. Over the coming year, we will be talking more in our workplace about the legacy of discriminatory and colonial practices in our communities and Canada more broadly.
While every business owner must choose for themselves how they will mark this day with their people, I thought I would share that our staff wanted to recognize tomorrow’s National Day for Truth and Reconciliation. To support this day, we have shared a variety of resources and events that our team can optionally engage with, and have chosen two Indigenous organizations to donate to – namely, the Vancouver Aboriginal Friendship Centre Society (VAFCS) in our city of business, Vancouver, located on the traditional, ancestral and unceded territory of the xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam), Sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish), and Sel̓íl̓witulh (Tsleil-Waututh) peoples; as well as the Kamloops Aboriginal Friendship Society the traditional lands of the Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc peoples where two of our staff live and the remains of 215 children were recently found on the former residential school grounds.
Below is a list of resources that we have turned to for learning at Webnames, as well as some events happening tomorrow both locally and online. It is our hope that you and your team may also find them of value in your own journey, both tomorrow and on an ongoing basis. We look forward to joining millions of other Canadians on September 30th in reflecting on the colonial history of this country, remembering the lost children and impacted communities, and personally taking part in simple, conscious acts to support reconciliation between Indigenous peoples and all Canadians.
Resources to Explore
The Orange Shirt Day Story – understanding the origins and significance of September 30th
What is Reconciliation? – A learning module explaining what reconciliation is in Canada and how it can redress past wrongs. Recommend the Welcome Video as a starting point.
Residential School System Explained – an overview by Indigenous Foundations UBC
Residential School History – National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation, University of Manitoba
The Discourse and IndigiNews free mini-course about Truth and Reconciliation – 6 resource-rich emails, once a day for a week
Know the 10 First Nations of the Metro Vancouver region where most of us live and work.British Columbia is home to 204 First Nations communities and approximately 50% of First People’s languages in Canada. Explore this interactive map to learn about the BC’s First Nations communities, their territories, languages and culture.
Consider enrolling in Indigenous Canada, the most popular online course in Canada. A free Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) from the Faculty of Native Studies at the University of Alberta, Indigenous Canada explores both Indigenous histories and contemporary issues in Canada. The course was created in response to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission recommendations which powerfully emphasized the importance of education. Enrollment can take place at any time and consists of 12 modules covering from contact and the fur trade through to contemporary indigenous political activism and culture.
Join the Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc Nation at 2:15 p.m. Pacific time on Sept. 30 by drumming, singing or simply listening to the Secwépemc Honour Song in memory of those children who went missing from residential schools. It is available at tkemlups.ca/drum for those who wish to learn it.
The National Film Board of Canada has a selection of short and feature films about the impact of residential schools in this country, and most are free to watch.
The National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation has been hosting virtual events all this week on topics such as treaties, land claims and unceded territories, language and culture, and truth and reconciliation. The videos, along with other resources, can be found here: nctr.ca/education/trw
For the entire day, CBC will be broadcasting First Nations, Métis and Inuit perspectives and experiences on CBC TV, CBC News Network, CBC.ca, CBC Kids, CBC Radio One and CBC Music including a commercial-free primetime broadcast special, National Day for Truth and Reconciliation.
Seek out local events that you can attend, such as these in Vancouver, Surrey and New Westminster (scroll to bottom) – and wear your orange shirt and mask.
Show Your Support
Consider donating to your local Aboriginal Friendship Centre or an Indigenous-led cultural or language revitalization project in your region, the Indian Residential School Survivors Society, Orange Shirt Day Society, or another initiative that supports residential school survivors or Indigenous communities and/or cultural activities directly.