Table of contents

Overview

On September 30, people in Canada recognize Orange Shirt Day by wearing orange to acknowledge the legacy of residential schools and honour the survivors and their families.

The Canadian federal government also recognizes September 30 as a National Day for Truth and Reconciliation. On this day, Albertans are encouraged to reflect on the legacy of residential schools and participate in a community event.

How Orange Shirt Day began

Orange Shirt Day began in British Columbia in 2013 when a residential school survivor, Phyllis Webstad, shared her story of having her shiny new orange shirt taken away on her first day at a residential school. Since then, Orange Shirt Day has become an opportunity for First Nations, Métis and Inuit, governments, schools and communities to come together in the spirit of reconciliation.

For more information on Indian residential schools and the findings of the Truth and Reconciliation work on Indian residential schools, read the Summary of the Final Report of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada .

2021 in-person events

Note: Check the event website or with the organizers for up-to-date information on each listed event.

Calgary

Indigenous writer’s panel: Literature on intergenerational trauma and healing

  • When: September 30, noon to 1:30 pm
  • Where: Online (via Zoom)
  • Eden Robinson, Richard Van Camp and Lee Maracle will share their literature on intergenerational trauma and Indigenous resilience. The panel will be moderated by Dr.Michael Hard, University of Calgary’s Vice-Provost (Indigenous Engagement), with an opening prayer by Stoney Nakoda Elder Una Wesley and reflective remarks from Sarah Meilleur, the Calgary Public Library’s interim CEO.
  • Information: University of Calgary – Orange Shirt Day

Monkey Beach: Film screening and discussion

  • When: September 30, 6:30 to 9 pm
  • Where: Online (via Cya.Live)
  • Monkey Beach is a feature film adapting the novel by Eden Robinson, a member of the Haisla and Heiltsuk First Nations in B.C. This story explores a healing journey from intergenerational trauma as the main character discovers deep connections with her ancestral background and spiritual beliefs.
  • Presented by the Calgary Public Library in partnership with UCalgary’s Office of Indigenous Engagement, a discussion will follow with director Loretta Todd and actors Tina Lameman and Nathaniel Arcand. Judy Aldous from CBC's Alberta at Noon is hosting the event, which will have an opening prayer by Siksika Elder Adrian Wolfleg and reflective remarks from Dr. Michael Hart, UCalgary’s Vice-Provost (Indigenous Engagement).
  • Information: University of Calgary – Orange Shirt Day

City of Calgary

  • When: September 30, noon (moment of silence)
  • Where: Municipal Building, City of Calgary
  • The City of Calgary and the Indigenous Relations Office holding a moment of silence on Orange Shirt Day on the steps of the city’s municipal building.

Pokaiks: the Children

  • When: September 25, 10 am to 3 pm
  • Where: Stephen Avenue (228 8 AVE SE) to Olympic Plaza
  • The CIF Reconciliation Society will be welcoming the community to an Orange Shirt Day walk, starting at Stephen avenue. The event will include music, children's programming, and speeches.
  • Information: CIF Reconciliation Society

Canmore

Truth, Reconciliation and Indigenous history with First Nations, Métis and Inuit people events

Event 1

  • When: Thursday, 23 September, 7 to 9 pm
  • The ACFA Régionale de Canmore-Banff will host a roundtable on Truth and Reconciliation and Indigenous history with First Nations, Métis and Inuit people. The Bow Valley Francophone community is welcome to attend to discuss, exchange and share with the panel.
  • Description : L'ACFA régionale de Canmore-Banff organise une table ronde sur la vérité et la réconciliation, et sur l'histoire autochtone avec des membres des Premières Nations, des Métis et des Inuits. La communauté francophone de la vallée de la Bow est invitée à y participer pour discuter, échanger et partager avec le panel.
  • Information: https://canmore.acfa.ab.ca/evenements/ (In French)

Event 2

  • When: Thursday, September 23, 7 to 9 pm
  • The ACFA Régionale de Canmore-Banff will host an event intended for Francophone youth (3 to 18 years old) from the Bow Valley, offering cultural, artistic, spiritual and historical activities related to First Nations, Métis and Inuit.
  • L'ACFA régionale de Canmore-Banff organise une table ronde sur la vérité et la réconciliation, et sur l'histoire autochtone avec des membres des Premières Nations, des Métis et des Inuits. La communauté francophone de la vallée de la Bow est invitée à y participer pour discuter, échanger et partager avec le panel.

Event 3

  • When: September 23, 9 am to 3 pm, and September 24, 9 am to 2 pm
  • Where: 3100B Stewart Creek Drive
  • L'ACFA régionale de Canmore-Banff tiendra un événement destiné aux jeunes francophones (3 a 18 ans) de la Bow Valley, qui leur proposera des activités culturelles, artistiques, spirituelles et historiques liées aux Premières nations, aux Métis et aux Inuits.
  • Information: https://canmore.acfa.ab.ca/evenements/

Driftpile

Woman's teachings and ribbon skirt making

  • When: September 18, and September 25, 10 am to 5:30 pm
  • Where: Highway 2 North Box 30
  • Driftpile Cree Nation will be hosting a woman's day of traditional teachings and wrap up the final 2 days with Ribbon skirt making.

Edmonton

Orange Shirt Day Run/Walk – Every Child Matters

  • When: September 30, 3 to 6 pm
  • Where: Indigenous Art Park (Lot 11)
  • This walk and run will begin with a ceremony and words from Elders at 3 pm while a walk and run will start at the Kinsmen Park at 4 pm. It will be a combination of a pavement and trail run through the Edmonton river valley to Hawrelak Park and back. Three distances are included: 5 and 10 km and a kids 2.15 km race in the same location.
  • Information: CFWE radio

Grande Prairie

The Talking Path Exhibition

  • When: June 17 to October 10, 10 am
  • Where: Art Gallery of Grande Prairie (9839 103 Ave, #103)
  • Rooted in the Oral Tradition of Indigenous cultures of The Peace Region, the artworks in The Talking Path speak of the stories of diverse journeys between Indigenous Elders, Indigenous Knowledge Keepers and Indigenous Youths as they honour, respect, and share holistic ways of knowing and well-being in family and community.
  • Information: Art Gallery of Grand Prairie

Okotoks

Little Moccasins

  • When: September 30, 11 am to 4 pm
  • Where: Okotoks Museum & Archives (49 North Railway Street)
  • The Okotoks Museum will feature the documentary ‘Little Moccasins,’ including the history of Dunbow Residential School and the shoes that are preserved from the 215 memorial held in Okotoks.

Spruce Grove

Notorious Cree Performance

  • When: September 25, 2 pm
  • Where: Central Park (450 King St)
  • Spruce Grove Public Library is hosting Notorious Cree. He is a men’s fancy powwow dancer and among the top 3 world hoop dancers who also plays the flute and hand drum. Notorious Cree blends traditional, modern and contemporary arts to create a high energy performance.
  • Information: Spruce Grove Public Library

Strathmore

Dancing and Drums

  • When: September 18, noon
  • Where: Kinsmen Park
  • Strathmore Municipal Library and Town of Strathmore are hosting a performance by local Indigenous dancers and a Drum Circle.
  • Information: Strathmore Municipal Library

Indigenous Healing Garden Tours

  • When: September 18, 11 am to 4 pm
  • Where: Kinsmen Park, Hosted by Strathmore Municipal Library and Town of Strathmore
  • Two Knowledge Keepers will guide participants through the garden, sharing knowledge and answering questions. Learn about local Indigenous traditions and culture.
  • Information: Strathmore Municipal Library

2021 virtual events

Calgary

Moment of Silence

  • When: September 30, 1 pm
  • Where: The City of Calgary’s YouTube channel
  • September 30 is being honoured as Orange Shirt Day in the City of Calgary, and the Indigenous Relations Office is marking the day by holding a moment of silence at noon and releasing a video to mark the day.

Spruce Grove

Virtual Blanket Exercise

  • When: September 26, 10 am to 12:30 pm
  • Where: Online (via Zoom)
  • Hosted by the Spruce Grove Public Library, the KAIROS blanket exercise traces the history of Indigenous people in Canada for the past 500 years. Space is limited. Presentation for ages 18+.
  • Information: Spruce Grove Public Library

Suggested activities

Wear an orange shirt on September 30. Other suggested activities include:

  • organize an online or in-person event following public health guidelines
  • read about the legacy of residential schools
  • read the summary of the Final Report of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada
  • find and watch films online about people’s experiences at residential schools
  • learn about Indigenous cultures

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