In advance of Orange Shirt Day and Canada’s new National Day for Truth and Reconciliation on September 30, we have compiled a list of 15 actions recommended by Indigenous advisors and partners as a way for you to deepen your understanding and undertake meaningful action.

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. Register for Indigenous Resources & Perspectives for Outdoor Learning: Taking place on September 23, this free virtual workshop offered by Faye O’Neil, one of our Indigenous Advisors. Faye will share her perspective around outdoor learning related to her understanding and knowledge of her Ktunaxa roots and being born to the land.
  4. 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.
  5. Order Strong Stories: Written, published and illustrated by Indigenous people from across Canada, this collection of 48 stories offers a wealth of knowledge from a variety of perspectives.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. Listen to Braiding Ktunaxa Knowledge into Learning: In this podcast one of our Indigenous Advisors, Faye O’Neil, explores a variety of concepts including gaining knowledge from the land, gaps in the education system and how to fill them and making partnerships and maintaining open dialogue.
  11. 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. On September 26th for World Rivers Day we will be hosting a live virtual reading of The Heart of a River that will be suitable for all ages. We invite you to join us and listen to LaRae Wiley sn̓aʕyčkstx, Arrow Lakes Band, tell this powerful story. Register here.
  12. Read the Raven Activity Guide: On pages 12-15 there are actions that people can take to be an ally.
  13. Learn more about the local land: Access Indigenous resources such as the Pacific Northwest Plant Cards or the Ktunaxa Ethnobotany Handbook to deepen your connection to place.
  14. 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 Canadian reconciliation, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission has made these calls to action.
  15. Learn Locally: Take time today, and in the year(s) ahead to deepen your knowledge of the Indigenous peoples of your area.

In the artwork below which is featured on our Every Child Matters flags, 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.”