In recognition of the first annual National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, the Whistler Museum will be closed on Thursday, September 30.
In 2021, the Government of Canada named September 30 as the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation and a federal holiday. This declaration is in response to Truth and Reconciliation Call to Action No. 80, which calls for a statutory holiday “to honour Survivors, their families, and communities and ensure that public commemoration of the history and legacy of residential schools remain a vital component of the reconciliation process.”
September 30 was chosen, in part, because it is also Orange Shirt Day, which, since 2013, has been a day to recognize the ongoing harm inflicted on Indigenous communities by the residential school system. The orange shirt comes from the experience of Phyllis (Jack) Webstad. When she was a young girl, her grandmother bought her a brand new orange shirt, and, on her first day at a residential school, it was taken from her and never returned.
On this day, everyone is encouraged to learn, reflect on the history and ongoing legacy of harm caused by residential schools, and take action in support of truth and reconciliation.
If you are in Whistler, visit the Squamish Lil’wat Cultural Centre (SLCC).
September 30 will be a day of reflection and truth for the staff and visitors to the SLCC. Survivors from residential schools will speak. The Warrior song will be sung. Stories will be told. A seven-foot totem will be unveiled, commemorating the children of residential schools, including those missing and buried in unmarked graves.
Be gentle in your journey; for the SLCC Ambassadors, these truths are about themselves and their loved ones, and may be too fragile to surface.
The Whistler Public Library will be closed on September 30, but you can stop by between 11 am and 1 pm for their Truth & Reconciliation Book Giveaway, where they will be giving out over 100 fiction and non-fiction books for all ages around the theme of Truth and Reconciliation. You can also browse their Indigenous Collection and explore their list of books and other documents available at the library to learn more about the Residential School System and its repercussions that still affect Indigenous families and communities today.
Whistler 101: Indigenous Peoples was written and presented by Mixalhítsa7, Alison Pascal, Curator at the Squamish Lil’wat Cultural Centre, as part of the Whistler 101 series. Watch the video below or watch it on YouTube here.
There are also many virtual resources and events that can help you to engage further with Truth and Reconciliation. Here are just a few:
- Truth and Reconciliation Week (September 27 – October 1) programming from the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation
- Remember Me: A National Day of Remembrance, an initiative presented by Indigenous Arts Collective of Canada
- track the progress of the 94 Calls to Action of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission
- take a mini-course with Nahanee Creative, led by Ta7talíya Michelle Nahanee, a Squamish Nation decolonizing leader
- learn more about and support the Indian Residential School Society