National Day for Truth and Reconciliation

September 30th is the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation. The National Day for Truth and Reconciliation is a federal statutory holiday which gives the public a chance to recognize and commemorate the intergenerational harm that residential schools have caused to Indigenous families and communities, and to honour those who have been affected by this injustice. 

View the events and programming section below to learn about events the McGill community is participating in on September 30th.

Staff from the Office of the Principal, the Office of the Provost, and Deans are shown smiling in orange shirts on Zoom

McGill staff, including Suzanne Fortier, the Principal and Vice-Chancellor of McGill University from 2013 to 2022, show solidarity on Orange Shirt Day.

The Truth and Reconciliation Commission - Calls to Action

The National Day for Truth and Reconciliation responds to Call to Action 80 from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada: Calls to Action, which reads:

80. We call upon the federal government, in collaboration with Aboriginal peoples, to establish, as a statutory holiday, a National Day for Truth and Reconciliation to honour Survivors, their families, and communities, and ensure that public commemoration of the history and legacy of residential schools remains a vital component of the reconciliation process.

Orange Shirt Day

September 30th is also Orange Shirt Day

"The annual Orange Shirt Day on September 30th opens the door to global conversation on all aspects of Residential Schools. It is an opportunity to create meaningful discussion about the effects of Residential Schools and the legacy they have left behind.  A discussion all Canadians can tune into and create bridges with each other for reconciliation.  A day for survivors to be reaffirmed that they matter, and so do those that have been affected.  Every Child Matters, even if they are an adult, from now on."

(Orange Shirt Day website)

Orange Shirt Day invites Canadians to wear orange shirts on September 30th each year to honour survivors of residential schools, their families, and their communities. The Orange Shirt Day website has a page of resources for anyone looking to organize an Orange Shirt Day event at their school or work. 

Events and Programming (2022)

4th Annual "We Will Walk Together/Skàtne Entewathahìta" Event (10:00 am - 12:00 pm), Education Building (3700 McTavish St)

This year's "We Will Walk Together/Skàtne Entewathahìta" event will involve an outdoor ceremony honouring the children, survivors, and families impacted by residential and day schools. It will include guest speeches and drumming performances. Following the ceremony, there will be an interactive information fair that highlights Indigenous initiatives within the Faculty of Education and beyond. The event's theme is "Education is the key to reconciliation."

2nd Annual Every Child Matters Community March (1 pm), Monument George-Etienne-Cartier (near the intersection of Parc Ave and Rue Rachel E)

Join the Montreal community at the 2nd annual Every Child Matters/Truth and Reconciliation Day March organized by the Native Women's Shelter of Montreal and Resilience Montreal. The confirmed speakers are Ellen Gabriel (Katsi'tsakwas), Grand Chief Kahsennenhawe Sky-Deer, Chief Jessica Lazare, Ben Geboe, Steve McComber, Elisapie Isaac, “Generational Warriors” Lara Kramer with daughter Ruby Caldwell Kramer and Autumn Godwin with daughter Clara Godwin, and Maya Cousineau Mollen. All are encouraged to attend, wear orange, and bring their drums.

Orange Shirt Sale by the Indigenous Law Association/Association de Droit Autochtone (ILADA) at McGill

The Indigenous Law Association / Association de Droit Autochtone (ILADA) at McGill is hosting a fundraiser selling "Every Child Matters/Chaque enfant compte" orange t-shirts. The t-shirts are $20 each, all proceeds will go towards Resilience Montreal.

To support ILADA's fundraiser, visit them on Tuesday, September 27th from 5:00-6:30 pm on McTavish Street in front of the SSMU building, Wednesday, September 28th from 1:00-2:30 pm in the New Chancellor Day Hall (NCDH) Atrium, or on Thursday, September 29th at their Coffeehouse event, taking place from 5:00-7:00 pm in the NCDH Atrium.

Follow ILADA here for updates on their fundraiser and the work they do more broadly.

Events and Programming (2021)

Morning Program

We Will Walk Together/Skàtne Entewathahìta

Time: September 30th, 10:00 a.m. - 11:30 a.m.

Location: Streamed from First Peoples’ House - Register for the free event here to receive the Zoom link.

Description: A series of talks, discussions, performers, led by Elder Geraldine Standup (Traditional Healer, Kahnawa:ke), on the theme of Hope and Healing. Guests include throat singer Nina Segalowitz and youth from St. Edmund Elementary School. 

Host unit and contact person: Faculty of Education – Mindy Carter, Claudia Mitchell 

Noon Program

Truth Gathering - Truth and Reconciliation Commission

Time: September 30th, 12:00 p.m. – 1:00 p.m.

Location: The event will be livestreamed on the SCS YouTube channel. Open the livestream in YouTube here

Description: A talk by Wanda Gabriel (Assistant Professor, McGill Social Work), on the topic of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. This talk is the first in a series related to the McCord exhibition Indigenous Voices of Today; Knowledge, trauma, resilience.  

Register for the free event here

Host unit and contact person: School of Continuing Studies – Dr. Carmen Sicilia at indigenousrelations.scs [at]

Every Child Matters March & Fundraising of Orange T-Shirts

Time: September 30th, 12:00 p.m.

Location: McTavish Street

Description: On September 30, 2021, we will gather to observe the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation and to honour the victims and survivors of Residential and Day schools. A moment of silence, vigil and drumming ceremony will be held on the McTavish Street at 12:00 EDT before joining a march at Place du Canada. We will be fundraising by selling "Every Child Matters/Chaque enfant compte" orange t-shirts (designed by an Indigenous Artist and Law Student) in the days before September 30th. All proceeds will go to the Indian Residential School Survivor Society (IRSSS).

Host unit and contact person: The Students' Society of McGill University, the McGill Law Students' Association, and the Indigenous Law Students' Association - Darshan Daryanani (President of SSMU president [at]

National day for Truth and Reconciliation: Recognizing the experiences of Indigenous victims and survivors of the residential schools

Time: September 30th, 12:00 p.m. - 1:00 p.m.

Location: Virtual - Access the Zoom link here

Description: Guest speaker Dr. Sheri McKinstry, Assistant Professor, College of Dentistry, University of Saskatchewan. Learn more about the event on the Faculty of Dentistry website here

Host unit and contact person: Faculty of Dentistry - Christine Ebrahim

Afternoon Program

Public Policy and National Reconciliation: Where Do We Go from Here?

Time: September 29th, 3:00 p.m. - 4:00 p.m.

Location: Virtual - Register for free here

Description: Max Bell School of Public Policy at McGill is holding a virtual event on the eve of the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation. Learn more about the event here

Host unit and contact person: Max Bell School of Public Policy - Katrine Brink Claassens

Indigenomics: A discussion about the rise of the modern Indigenous economy

Time: September 29th, 4:00 p.m.

Location: Virtual - Register here

Description: It is time to increase the visibility, role, and responsibility of the emerging modern Indigenous economy and the people involved. This is the foundation for economic reconciliation. This is Indigenomics.

Join us for a discussion with Carol Anne about Indigenomics, her new book on the ongoing power shift and rise of the modern Indigenous economy. Indigenomics lays out the tenets of the emerging Indigenous economy, built around relationships, multigenerational stewardship of resources, and care for all. It calls for a new model of development, one that advances Indigenous self-determination, collective well-being, and reconciliation.

Carol Anne Hilton is founder of the Indigenomics Institute and an advisor to business, governments, and First Nations. She is a Hesquiaht woman of Nuu chah nulth descent from the west coast of Vancouver Island. She holds an MBA and comes from 10,000 years of the potlatch tradition. She lives in Victoria, BC.

The webinar discussion will be moderated by MISC director Daniel Béland and will be followed by an audience Q&A.

Host unit and contact person: The McGill Institute for Study of Canada - Stephan Gervais

Denouncing the Continued Overrepresentation of First Nations Children in Canadian Child Welfare

Time: September 30th, 2:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m.

Location: Virtual - Register here

Description: Teach in on the implications of the most recent findings from the First Nations/Canadian Incidence Study of Reported Child Abuse and Neglect-2019.

Host unit and contact person: School of Social Work, Indigenous Access McGill and the Centre for Research on Children and Families - Nico Trocmé

Décoloniser les espaces de création. Les voi(x)(e)s artistiques pour sortir de l’imaginaire colonial. Decolonizing the spaces of creation. Artistic paths out of the colonial imaginary.

Time: This event has been postponed. Updates will be posted as soon as possible. 

Location: TBD

Host unit and contact person: Indigenous Studies and Quebec Studies programs (supported by MISC) - Stephan Gervais

Indigenous Health Workshop

Time: September 30th, 3:30 p.m. - 4:30 p.m. A poster for the Indigenous Health event, with a photograph of people holding candles at a vigil.

Location: Virtual - Zoom link 

Description: The National Day for Truth and Reconciliation will take place in Canada on Sept. 30th, for the first time. The day was created to give everyone an opportunity to recognize and commemorate the legacy of residential schools, which more than 150,000 First Nations, Metis, and Inuit children were forced to attend between the 1870s and 1997.

We must ensure that this day remains to be a day of remembrance for Indigenous people and a day of education for all Canadians and the McGill Community. To promote and commemorate this event, an Indigenous Health workshop will be jointly shared by the First Peoples' House, the Indigenous Health Professions Program, the Global Health Programs and the Department of Epidemiology, Biostatistics and Occupational Health.

This workshop will introduce attendees to an Indigenous perspective on health, healthcare systems accessibility, and the many related challenges. The workshop will start with a presentation at 3:30 p.m. and end around 4:30 p.m. EDT.

Speakers include:

  • Keith Leclaire, to PATHWAYS, Advisory Circle Chair
  • Rosanne Blanchet, Dietitian / Nutritionist in Social and Preventative Medicine
  • Dr. Carrie Bourassa, Professor in Community Health and Epidemiology

Join the workshop presentation on September 30th, 2021 via Zoom.

Host unit and contact person: Kevin Jutras, Master of Science in Public Health student 

Evening Program

Curricular sovereignty in historical education: Atikamekw and Mohawk experiences

Time: September 30th, 4:30 p.m. - 6:00 p.m. The poster for the Curricular Sovereignty event, featuring an orange feather on a purple background.

Location: Leacock Building, Room 738 - Zoom link

Description: Both the Atikamekw and Mohawk Nations of Québec are engaged in a deep transformation of the history curricula taught in their communities. Christian Coocoo, of the Conseil de la Nation Atikamekw, and Sandra-Lynn Leclaire, of the Kahnawà:ke Education Center, will discuss their experience with these new programs, and how it relates to the deeper goals of sovereignty and renewal. An open discussion with students and faculty will follow on historical research and teaching and Nation-to-University collaborations in the wake of the TRC.

Host unit and contact person: History and Classical Studies - Daviken Studnicki-Gizbert

National Day for Truth and Reconciliation: Indigenous Voices

Time: September 30th, 6:30 p.m. - 8:30 p.m.

Location: Virtual - Register here to receive the Zoom link

Description: September 30th has been designated a National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, which provides an opportunity for us to recognize and commemorate the legacy of residential schools in Canada. To commemorate this day, the McGill Desautels Faculty of Management will be hosting a storytelling event. The event will be held virtually on Thursday, September 30 from 6:30 PM to 8:30 PM. We encourage you to take the time to participate in this opportunity to listen and reflect, and to participate in other ways on this day and every day. More events held across campus will be announced in the weeks to come.

Host unit and contact person: Desautels Faculty of Management - Ireland Compton

Other Activities at McGill

In addition to the events held by different units and faculties, the University will be taking the following steps to honour the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation:

  • Lowering of flag at half-mast on the Arts Building.
  • A public statement by the Provost acknowledging the significance of the day.
  • Orange lighting of the Arts Building on the downtown campus and the Centennial building on Mac Campus from the evening of 29 September to the morning of 1 October. Institutions across the country will be doing the same.
  • Invitation to staff in central offices to wear orange t-shirts to show solidarity – this has been done across the country for some time.

Read McGill's Statement: Truth and Reconciliation and the Residential School System

Note: This page may contain distressing content. For support, the Indian Residential Schools Crisis Line is available 24/7 at 1-866-925-4419. The Hope for Wellness helpline can be reached 24/7 at 1-855-242-3310 or

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