What is the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation?

On September 30 of each year, we honour the children who were lost and the Survivors of residential schools, in addition to their families and communities. Recognizing the distressing and enduring legacy of residential schools through public commemoration plays a crucial role in the journey of reconciliation. From the 1870s to the 1990s, the Residential School system persisted throughout Canada with a devastating impact. These institutions were deliberately established to forcibly detach Indigenous children from their families and communities, aiming to systematically erode their cherished traditions, cultural practices, and languages. Over 150,000 First Nations, Inuit, and Métis children were compelled to attend these schools, often situated far from their homes, tearing them away from their roots. Tragically, many of these young souls never returned to their families, forever lost to the cruel consequences of the residential school system.

This day is also referred to as Orange Shirt Day, an Indigenous-led grassroots initiative purposefully dedicated to heightening awareness of the profound inter-generational effects of residential schools on individuals, families, and communities. Its mission is to embrace the concept of “Every Child Matters.” The symbolic orange shirt worn on this day represents the painful history of cultural, emotional, and personal losses endured by Indigenous people throughout generations, encapsulating the stripping away of their culture and freedom.

Our CBOQ Land Acknowledgement Statement

This is the traditional homeland of the Wendat, the Anishinabek Nation, the Haudenosaunee Confederacy, the Mississauga’s of the New Credit First Nation, and the Métis Nation.

In all that we say and do here, in this place, on this land, and in the presence of God’s Holy Spirit, may we glorify and honour God with our words and deeds.  Amen.

Learning Resources Available

We invite you to utilize the resources provided by CBM, designed to aid you in learning about and commemorating the individuals who endured the residential school system. Reconciliation is an ongoing journey in Canadian history, and it is essential to learn about Indigenous perspectives, worldview, culture, and spirituality.

To begin this journey, three preparation actions are suggested:

  1. Learn Whose Territory You Are On: Acknowledge the traditional land where your home, church, or school resides. This is a significant step toward reconciliation and honoring Indigenous peoples’ identity and history. Pray for CBOQ churches located on or near reservation land: Misstissini, Oneida, Caledonia, Ohsweken. Visit nativeland.ca for more information.
  2. Read the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Report: Understand the devastating consequences of the Indian residential school system and explore the recommended Calls to Action for a comprehensive understanding of this dark chapter in Canada’s history. Visit trcreadingchallenge.com or check out CBM’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission Videos for additional insights.
  3. Hear From Indigenous Voices: Broaden your horizons by listening to songs, reading stories, and enrolling in free courses in Indigenous studies to gain an alternate perspective on Canadian history. Embrace the wisdom of Indigenous leaders and communities by listening to their stories and experiences. Reflect on their resilience and the importance of preserving and celebrating their rich cultures and traditions. Visit cbc.ca to access the lecture, “The Truth about Stories: A Native Narrative” or anglican.ca to watch the film “Doctrine of Discovery: Stolen lands, Strong Hearts.”

By taking these preparatory steps, we can foster empathy, respect, and understanding as we embark on the journey of reconciliation together.

For more resources go to: https://www.cbmin.org/nationalday/

Remembering the Past and Embracing Reconciliation

Join us for a profound and heartfelt commemoration of the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation. As Canadian Baptists, we commit to fostering a culture of reconciliation, healing, and respect to create a brighter and more compassionate future for all.

On this National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, we stand together to:

  • Lament the painful history of residential schools and their ongoing impact on Indigenous communities.
  • Support initiatives that promote truth, understanding, and dialogue.
  • Engage in ongoing learning about Indigenous history, culture, and spirituality.
  • Advocate for meaningful changes and partnerships with Indigenous communities.
  • Stand in solidarity to address the injustices of the past and work towards a better future.

A video provided by CBM, Service of Remembrance and Reflection: Rev. Dr Danny Zacharias, serves as a powerful starting point for our reflection and learning. The video sheds light on the historical significance of the Residential School system and its repercussions on Indigenous communities in Canada. By hearing about their experiences, we gain insights into the experiences of the survivors and the inter-generational impact on their families. We remember, reflect, and join in lament for children lost, communities destroyed, lands stolen, acts of cultural genocide, and the discrimination that was, and in some cases still is, national policy in our country. God encourages us to flex our empathy muscles, and our Canadian Baptist churches need to intentionally nurture the spiritual practice of empathy in our modern world.

We encourage you to take a walk and participate in a moment of contemplative silence to reflect on the profound and lasting impact of residential schools over the years. Join us in lifting our voices in unity to pray for truth, healing, and reconciliation for all affected communities. As we pay tribute to those who suffered, let us keep the memory of residential schools in our thoughts and prayers, including the Whitehorse school, from which we know the names of 4000 children who tragically lost their lives.

Consider the ways in which you can learn and strengthen relationships with Indigenous peoples, such as participating in the KAIROS Blanket Exercise or visiting a reserve near you with the intention of learning.

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