The first National Day for Truth and Reconciliation will take place on September 30, 2021. If you are interested in participating, these books and official places to buy orange shirts will help!
The National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, also known as Orange Shirt Day, takes place on September 30th. This new federal statutory holiday opens the door to global conversation on all aspects of residential schools. Its purpose is to create an opportunity to have meaningful discussion about the history of residential schools, their legacy, as well as create bridges with each other for reconciliation. Orange Shirt Day is a time for survivors to be reaffirmed that they matter, and all those who have been impacted.
Having a discussion about residential schools may feel like a particularly challenging subject to introduce to children. This is why we’re linking to several resources to help show Indigenous perspectives and learn more about their cultures. OrangeShirtDay.org even has Teacher Resources you might find handy!
Books for Kids
Raven, Rabbit, Deer - The boy shows Grandpa how to jump in the snow and how to make it splash into the creek. Grandpa shows the boy rabbit tracks and deer hiding among the trees. They greet their animal neighbours by name: Raven, Rabbit, Deer, Sparrow.
Innovation Nation: How Canadian Innovators Made the World... - This young readers’ companion title to Ingenious co-authored by the Right Honourable David Johnston (Canada’s 28th Governor General) and Tom Jenkins, focuses on 50 kid-friendly Canadian innovations that changed the world, including many early Indigenous innovations from canoes, life jackets to duck decoys.
Tundra Books has a great list with more books to celebrate Indigenous culture for Kids and Teens!
Books for Teens
Treaty Words: For as Long as the Rivers Flow - On the banks of the river that have been Mishomis’s home his whole life, he teaches his granddaughter to listen—to hear both the sounds and the silences, and so to learn her place in Creation. Most importantly, he teaches her about treaties—the bonds of reciprocity and renewal that endure for as long as the sun shines, the grass grows, and the rivers flow.
The Hill - Seeking cell phone reception after a remote plane crash, city kid Jared and local Kyle scale a hill that Kyle’s Cree grandmother has forbidden him to climb. Coming down the next day, the boys find that the plane has disappeared, the forest has changed, and something is hunting them. A modern imagining of the Cree Wîhtiko legend.
Books for Grown-Ups
Ingenious: How Canadian Innovators Made the World... - To celebrate Canada’s 150th birthday, the Right Honourable David Johnston and Tom Jenkins crafted a richly illustrated volume of brilliant Canadian innovations whose widespread adoption has made the world a better place. This title is also perfect for high-school students who enjoyed the companion title.
Residential Schools: Righting Canada’s Wrongs - This book includes the text of the government's apology and summarizes the Truth and Reconciliation Commission's 94 Calls to Action, which offer the basis for a new relationship between the Canadian government, Indigenous people and non-Indigenous people.
We hope you enjoy these books! There are so many wonderful Indigenous author lists to check out, but this should get you started. If you are searching for more, check out GoodMinds.com, an Indigenous-owned bookstore in Ontario whose mission is to support Indigenous writers and publishers in Canada by making their best and most recent materials known and available.
Do you need an orange shirt for September 30th? Many families are still searching for orange shirts for their children to wear to school, and want to ensure they are purchasing from credible and local places that are giving back to the Indigenous community. Check out Shop Indigenous Women's Market! (a virtual market featuring authentic Indigenous women-owned small businesses on Facebook), as well as this list of official suppliers from OrangeShirtDay.org and visit them to learn more about the holiday.
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