Canada’s federal government enacted legislation on June 3rd, 2021, to establish that each year,

on September 30th, the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation would be observed.

The Town of Pelham is situated on treaty land. This land is steeped in the rich history of the First Nations such as the Hatiwendaronk, the Haudenosaunee, and the Anishinaabe, including the Mississaugas of the Credit First Nation. There are many First Nations, Métis, and Inuit people from across Turtle Island that live and work in Niagara today. The Town of Pelham stands with all Indigenous people, past and present, in promoting the wise stewardship of the lands on which we live.

 About National Truth and Reconciliation Day

Recent discoveries of remains and unmarked graves across Western Canada have led to increased calls to address the recommendations in the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s (TRC) Calls to Action.

The Government of Canada “responded to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada’s call to action #80 by creating a holiday called the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, which seeks to honour First Nations, Inuit and Métis Survivors, their families, and communities, and to ensure that public commemoration of their history and the legacy of residential schools remains a vital component of the reconciliation process.” 

Canada’s federal government enacted legislation on June 3rd, 2021, to establish that each year, on September 30th, the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation would be observed.

The date of the statutory holiday coincides with Orange Shirt Day, a grassroots movement in recognition of Phyllis Webstad, a residential school survivor.

As Truth and Reconciliation Day has not been declared a provincial statutory holiday, Town of Pelham facilities and services remain open on September 30th. The Town of Pelham Council passed on the September 7, 2021 to recognizing September 30th as the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation (National Orange Shirt Day) in the Town of Pelham. 

Sunrise flag raising in Pelham

The Town of Pelham Council passed on September 7, 2021 to recognize September 30th as the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation (National Orange Shirt Day). 

 

To recognize the importance and significance of the day, the Town of Pelham will have a sunrise flag raising. 

 

Where: Pelham Town Hall  - 20 Pelham Town Square

When: Thursday September 30th 7:15AM

What to expect: Members of the community are invited to attend, and those attending are encouraged to wear Orange. Please ensure physical distancing and masks are worn.

 

The "Every Child Matters" Flag will be raised at sunrise, and then along with all other flags lowered to half-mast for the day. A time for reflection will follow.

 

About the flag that will be raised:

The flag that will be raised has been smudged with sweetgrass and sage to honour the missing and the survivors of Residential schools.

 

Ktunaxa artist Carol Louie provided the art for the feather and ideas for the design. Robert Louie (Ktunaxa) and Denice Louie (Athabascan) completed the design work in collaboration with their summer youth worker Gabe Kobasiuk (Cree). Robert Louie is a residential school survivor. Most of his siblings also went to residential school. "The heart with the broken lines was used to show how the residential school affected our people, our connections, our teachings. Though fractured, the hearts of our people continue and remain strong. And in all of our hearts, at the center of our communities are the little ones, our future - represented by the child's hand. The eagle feather honours and recognizes all the children who were forced into residential school."

 

 Virtual Event: An Evening of Truth and Fostering Reconciliation 

Join us on Truth and Reconciliation Day for a virtual presentation and Q&A session with Irene Goodwin and Teresa Edwards from Legacy of Hope Foundation (LHF).

Irene is a Survivor of the Indian Day School System and they are both Intergenerational Survivors. They will discuss their role at LHF, their life experiences, provide an overview of the history of the Residential and Day School System, the Sixties Scoop, and offer solutions on how to be an ally.

Registration required. A Zoom link will be sent the day of the session.

 

September 30th - 6:00pm - 8:00pm

Visit the Pelham Library page to secure your seat. 

 

Presented by the Pelham Library in partnership with Welland Public Library.

 Why wear Orange on September 30th?

Town of Pelham residents are encouraged to come together in a spirit of reconciliation and hope to honour the Indigenous children stolen from their families and forced to attend these residential schools, by wearing the colour orange on September 30.

September 30th is Orange Shirt Day, a time where Canadians across the country will be wearing orange to raise awareness of the tragic legacy of residential schools, and to honour the thousands of survivors. 

Orange Shirt Day was inspired by the story of Phyllis (Jack) Webstad, a residential school survivor. At the age of 6, Phyllis went to the St. Joseph Mission Indian Residential School wearing the bright-orange shirt bought by her grandmother. She said she felt "bright and exciting", just like her shirt. But on the first day of school, her new shirt was forcibly taken from her, along with her dignity.  This story is one of the many examples of harm that was inflicted upon the self-esteem and well-being of children who were forced to attend residential schools. Today, we acknowledge the denial of the rights and the wrongdoings of the past, and the present-day impacts across generations, including the trauma carried by survivors and their families.

Learning about the impacts that it has had on generations of Indigenous families, languages and cultures, lies at the heart of reconciliation between Indigenous peoples who attended these schools, their families and communities, and all Canadians.

Learn about this movement, the woman behind it, and her orange shirt story: https://www.orangeshirtday.org/

 

Town of Pelham staff will be wearing Orange t-shirts, in support of the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation.

 Indigenous Organizations in Niagara 

Learn about the different Indigenous organizations in Niagara and check out the programs and services they offer. You can also sign up for their newsletters and attend local events.

Niagara Regional Native Centre

Fort Erie Native Friendship Centre

Niagara Chapter Native Women

Niagara Region Metis Council

Indigenous Diabetes Health Circle

De Dwa Da Dehs Nye>s Aboriginal Health Centre based in Hamilton, but is increasing its outreach services in Niagara

Indigenous Health Network is part of the HNHB LHIN working with health and social service providers to address the health needs and issues of local Indigenous communities

Truth and Reconciliation Resources

The Canadian Government established the Truth and Reconciliation Commission in 2008. Its primary purpose is to document the history and impacts of the Canadian Residential School System. Truth and Reconciliation reveals the long and painful history behind Canada’s treatment of Indigenous peoples.

 

For more information about the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada please visit the following:

Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada 

Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada: Call to Action  

National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation 

 Residential Schools Awareness & Resources

Learn more about residential schools in Canada through the following resources:

Indian Residential Schools

Residential Schools in Canada: A Timeline

Legacy of Hope – Residential School Survivors

Canada’s Residential Schools – Google Earth

 National Residential School 24 Hour Crisis Line

A National Residential School Crisis Line has also been set up to provide support to former students.

This 24-Hour Crisis Line can be accessed at: 1-866-925-4419.

 Fort Erie Native Friendship Centre: Docuseries Indigenous Perspectives

The Fort Erie Native Friendship Centre produced a docu-series highlighting Indigenous history in Niagara

Watch the series here: 

  • Part 1: focuses on how life was before contact with settlers and the Indigenous contributions to the War of 1812
  • Part 2: looks at the tragedies of the residential school system, the 60's Scoop, and the Millennial Scoop, and their impacts on Indigenous peoples and communities in the present
  • Part 3: discusses racism in Canada today and how the community is healing with all the trauma they have experienced

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