In September, the Town of Pelham along with communities across Canada, commemorate National Day for Truth and Reconciliation and Orange Shirt Day. On this day, we honour the lost children and Survivors of residential schools, their families and communities.

The Town of Pelham is situated on the traditional territory of the Haudenosaunee and Anishinaabe peoples, many of whom continue to live and work here today. This territory is covered by the Upper Canada Treaties and is within the land protected by the Dish With One Spoon Wampum agreement. Today, this gathering place is home to many First Nations, Métis, and Inuit peoples and acknowledging reminds us that our great standard of living is directly related to the resources and friendships of Indigenous peoples.

About National Day for Truth and Reconciliation - September 30

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. 

Wearing Orange on September 30th

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

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:

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


Flag Raising Ceremony in Pelham

The Town of Pelham recognizes the significance of National Day for Truth and Reconciliation and Orange Shirt Day, and as such will have a flag raising ceremony. Please join us on September 30th at Town Hall. 

Where: Pelham Town Hall  - 20 Pelham Town Square

When: Friday, September 30th 2022 at 7:30AM

What to expect: Members of the community are invited to attend, and those attending are encouraged to wear orange. 

The "Every Child Matters" Flag will be raised during this time to celebrate First Nations, Métis, and Inuit cultures. It is inclusive of all Indigenous communities, and reiterates the importance of bringing awareness to the residential school system.

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."

In-person Special Screening: Beyond Orange Shirt Day - With Phyllis Webstad

Join the Town of Pelham for a screening in the Accursi Room at 12:00pm. Participants will be able to view unique September 30th inspired recordings.

Beyond Orange Shirt day with Phyliss Webstad: origins of orange shirt day. Phyllis and other survivors and intergenerational survivors share their experiences with the residential school system.

Disclaimer: Screening includes some discussion around violence and sexual violence.

Seminar: Understanding Reconciliation and Allyship with Nokomis Migizinz Cindilee 

Join us on National Day for Truth and Reconciliation for an in-person seminar with Nokomis Migizinz Cindilee from 4 Winds All My Relations.  

Nokomis Migizinz Cindilee (Anishinaabe) is a Physical Grandmother and a Spiritual Grandmother Women Bundle Carrier. She actively works and engages in various capacities of Traditional Knowledge sharing in Halton, Hamilton and Niagara. Since 2007, her work has been in education working in elementary, secondary, and post secondary as an instructor, educator, academic coach, and cultural liaison- sharing teachings and history.  

Where: Meridian Community Centre (Accursi Room) - 100 Meridian Way

When: Friday, September 30th from 2:15pm - 3:15pm.

Medicine Wheel Bracelet Workshop with April Mitchell-Boudreau

Join us on National Day for Truth and Reconciliation for an in-person workshop with April Mitchell-Boudreau to create a medicine wheel bracelet. It is free to attend for children. Youth over 8 will have the option to do an adult kit. Adults will pay an approximate $30 fee at the door, if they would like to create their own medicine wheel. 

April Mitchell-Boudreau is a Niagara-based designer, and proud Indigenous entrepreneur. She is a member of the Turtle Clan and Mohawk Nation with roots at Six Nations. April infuses her design work with traditional materials imagined in a contemporary context, and is committed to wellness through creativity and slow fashion. Owner of Lofttan Convertible Jewelry, April invented the Lofttan multiwear strand system, worn and loved by people around the world.

Registration required. Please contact Amanda Deschenes by email at

WhereMeridian Community Centre (Accursi Room) - 100 Meridian Way

When: Friday, September 30th from 3:30pm-4:30pm.

Drop in Discovery - Orange Shirt Day Kits

For National National Day for Truth and Reconciliation and Orange Shirt Day (September 30), you can find free, self-directed kits in the atrium of the Meridian Community Centre. They provide resources for you to further your learning and understanding of the residential school system, as well as what reflect on what reconciliation looks like. 


Listen, Learn, Act

The Town of Pelham encourages residents to learn more about Indigenous communities with the following resources.




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.

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

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
Indigenous Canada - University of Alberta
Indigenous Canada is a 12-lesson Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) from the Faculty of Native Studies that explores the different histories and contemporary perspectives of Indigenous peoples living in Canada. From an Indigenous perspective, this course explores complex experiences Indigenous peoples face today from a historical and critical perspective highlighting national and local Indigenous-settler relations. Indigenous Canada is for students from faculties outside the Faculty of Native Studies with an interest in acquiring a basic familiarity with Indigenous / non-Indigenous relationships. Learn more here
Native Land: Whose Land Do You Live On ?
Find out and learn about whose traditional territory you live on by visiting Learn more about the original caretakers of the land you now inhabit, their history, and the current issues that affect their communities. 
GeoViewer: Who Are Your Neighbours ?
Interact with this virtual map and discover the First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples who may live around you.
Moose Hide Campaign
The Moose Hide Campaign is a grassroots movement of Indigenous and non-Indigenous men and boys who are standing up against violence towards women and children. 

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