National Day for Truth and Reconciliation 2023

a group of people wearing orange shirts walk together

National Day for Truth and Reconciliation 2023

September 30th marks the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation.

On this day we honour the lost children and Survivors of residential schools, their families and communities. Widespread public commemoration and acknowledgement of the tragic and painful history, continued impact, and intergenerational trauma of Canada's residential school legacy is a vital component of the reconciliation process. The University of Waterloo and the Office of Indigenous Relations continue to amplify that truth as we build towards reconciliation. We will also highlight the beauty and resilience of indigeneity, and the strengthening of bonds with allies as we navigate this complex and meaningful day.

a group of people wearing orange shirts walk together, text overlay reads: National Day for Truth and Reconciliation September 29, 2023 BMH Green

Truth and Reconciliation Day on Campus 2023

On Friday, September 29, we will gather at the BMH Green for a Sunrise Ceremony beginning at 7:00 am, which will be followed by a Commitment Polishing Ceremony at 10am. The Commitment Polishing Ceremony will include a Cedar Circle and Pipe Ceremony. The day will also include speeches, a walk around Ring Road, a feast, drumming and round dance at the BMH Green.  

Program for Friday, September 29

  • 7:00am Sunrise Ceremony begins
  • 7:45am Sunrise Ceremony ends
  • 9:40am Gather at BMH Green North
  • 10:00am Cedar Circle & Commitment Polishing Ceremony 
  • 11:00am National Day for Truth & Reconciliation Remarks (BMH Green East)
  • 11:15am Walk Around Ring Road
  • 12:00pm Feast at BMH Green Centre
  • 12:50pm Round Dance

National Day for Truth and Reconciliation was formerly known as Orange Shirt Day, and it is still important that we wear orange on this day to show support. Orange was chosen in honour of Phyllis Webstad, a survivor of the St. Joseph Mission Residential School. On her first day, her new orange shirt given to her by her granny was stripped and stolen. We wear orange for all the children who had everything taken including their language, their culture, and for too many- their lives.  

Be sure to purchase an orange shirt if you haven’t already from the W Store. A portion of the proceeds from the sale go to the Indigenous Student Success Fund on campus. This fund was established to provide financial assistance to those Indigenous students who are most at risk of abandoning their education due to financial hardship.  

All are welcome to attend but we ask that if you wish to join us for the feast, please click below to register.

Canadian History and the Indian Residential School System

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Residential Schools in Canada: A Timeline

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