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National Day for Truth and Reconciliation: September 30, 2021

September 28, 2021

For the first time, September 30 has been designated as a federal statutory holiday to honour National Day for Truth and Reconciliation. Formerly known as Orange Shirt Day, the day is marked to honour residential school survivors and those who did not make it home. The tradition of Orange Shirt Day on September 30 began with residential school survivor Phyllis Webstad, who had her orange shirt taken away on the first day of school. Recognizing September 30 as National Day for Truth and Reconciliation is a direct response to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Call to Action 80, which called for a federal statutory day of commemoration for the tragic and painful history and ongoing impacts of residential schools. 

Employees in federally regulated workplaces, or those who have collective bargaining agreements that observe federal holidays in Saskatchewan, will honour the statutory holiday; however, provincial employees who are not federally regulated will not. School will be in session in Saskatchewan for staff and students, with divisions in Regina and Saskatoon planning Orange Shirt Day activities to reflect on the multigenerational impacts of residential schools. In alignment with the U of R’s commitment to Truth and Reconciliation, staff and students at both the University of Regina and University of Saskatchewan will get the day off

In response to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Calls to Action 62 through 65 on Education for Reconciliation, please read and understand these quick facts about the impact of residential schools in Canada, and visit Reconciliation Canada for more information:

  • More than 150,000 Indigenous children were forcefully taken from their families by the RCMP to attend residential schools.
  • 90 to 100% of these children suffered severe physical, emotional, and/or  sexual abuse.
  • Residential schools had a 40 – 60% mortality rate.
  • There were over 130 residential schools located across Canada. 
  • Residential schools date back to the 1870s, with the last school closing in only 1996 – located in Saskatchewan. 
  • Many residential school survivors are alive today, and the trauma of these colonizing and genocidal events has been passed down for generations. 
  • More than 1,300 unmarked graves of children who died in residential schools have been found at the sites of only four former residential schools excavated in western Canada in 2021.

On September 30, please wear orange, lower flags to half mast, and participate in Truth and Reconciliation activities.  

The University of Regina is situated on Treaty 4 lands with a presence in Treaty 6, the territories of the nêhiyawak, Anihšināpēk, Dakota, Lakota, and Nakoda, and the homeland of the Métis/Michif Nation.

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