Thursday, September 30th marks the first National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, the newest federal Statutory holiday.
National Day for Truth and Reconciliation is a day to reflect on the impacts of residential schools, honour survivors of residential schools, their families, their communities and all of those who never made it home, and learn more about the perspectives of Indigenous Peoples.
Though Alberta is not recognizing it as a provincial holiday, the city of Edmonton has declared September 30th as a holiday for all City employees, Edmonton Police Service and Edmonton Public Library.
The city has painted a commemorative crosswalk in honour of residential school survivors at the intersection of 99 Street and 103a Avenue, between City Hall and the Law Courts. This crosswalk was designed in collaboration with youth from the iHuman Youth Society and painted by the City’s Traffic Field Operations team.
All city-owned and leased trucks and vehicles, buses, waste trucks, mowers, automated enforcement vehicles and others will have an orange ribbon tied on in recognition of the day.
The High Level Bridge will be lit orange that evening and all flags will be at half-mast.
Here are some things to do in Edmonton to honour National Day for Truth and Reconciliation:
A Sacred Fire
Visit City Hall Plaza as a sacred fire will be lit for those who wish to pay respects and reflect.
City Hall Plaza, Edmonton
For all other events taking place this weekend, see: Things to Do This Weekend in Edmonton
Edmonton will be hosting a plant giveaway as a way to honour the victims, families, friends and intergenerational survivors of residential schools through its Root for Trees program. Trees, shrubs and wildflowers will be available at Hawrelak Park while supplies last. Details
September 30, 2021 | 10 AM – 2 PM
Strathcona Wilderness Centre
The Strathcona Wilderness Centre is hosting a free day of learning, sharing and building relationships with Indigenous Peoples. Events include an Indigenous Elder welcome and blessing, nature scavenger hunts, Indigenous performances and catering by Native Delights. Details
Thursday, September 30, 2021 | 9:30 AM – 2 PM
Strathcona Wilderness Centre 52535 Range Road 212, Ardrossan
MacEwan University National Day of Truth and Reconciliation
Programming (weather permitting): Sacred fire and tipi all day, Wellness Circle and all-day support with Elders, Live-mural and Artist session. Details
Thursday, September 30, 2021 | 9 AM -3 PM
Outdoors between Robbins Health Learning Centre and Allard Hall (weather permitting)
Every Child Matters
Teachings, Drumming, and Songs. Come help paint a tipi with orange handprints. Gloves and paint provided. Snacks and drinks provided. Open to all.
Thursday, September 30, 2021 | 11 AM – 4 PM
Westridge Community, 505 Wolf Willow Road, Edmonton
Orange Shirt Day at the AGA
AGA invites all visitors to the AGA to wear an orange shirt to honour the survivors and intergenerational survivors of residential schools. Details
Thursday, September 30, 2021
Art Gallery of Alberta, 2 Sir Winston Churchill Square
Free admission for those wearing orange shirts
Royal Alberta Museum
Join guest curator Tanya Harnett for a free virtual exhibit talk. Tanya will share her how she curated the Residential Schools exhibit to share the history and realities of the residential school system in Alberta. There will also be a virtual reading of Shi-Shi-Etko by Nicola Campbell.
Royal Alberta Museum has more than 18,000 objects of Indigenous origin.
Thursday, September 30, 2021 | 10:30 AM & 1:30 PM
Online; RAM is open for in-person visits from 10 AM to 4 PM
Free online; Admission – Regular
Bent Arrow Presents Orange Shirt Day
Join our Facebook live Orange Shirt Day event, commemorating the National Day of Truth and Reconciliation. The day will include Honour Song, Smudge and Prayer, Residential School Survivors Stories, Circle Talk, and Crafts. Details
Thursday, September 30, 2021 | 3:00 PM – 6:00 PM
Orange Shirt Day Run/Walk Every Child Matters
Join our Run/Walk in support and awareness of those who did not survive the Residential school era and for those who did. Children’s 2.15km event & choice of 5km or 10km event for adults This event will raise funds for the Indian Residential School Survivors Society and local grassroots movements,
Thursday, September 30, 2021
3:00 PM Ceremony and words from elders at the Kinsmen Baseball Field.
4:00 PM Start of Kids 2.15km race at Huskie House parking lot below the High Level Bridge
4:15 PM Start of 5km/10km walk/run at the Huskie House parking lot below the High Level Bridge
Huskie House parking lot below the High-Level Bridge
Jay Gilday with Matthew Cardinal & Chubby Cree
Take in the talents of Indigenous artists with an evening of local blues, folk and instrumental music at Festival Place featuring Jay Gilday with Matthew Cardinal and Chubby Cree. Details
Thursday, September 30, 2021 | 7:30 PM
Festival Place – 100 Festival Way, Sherwood Park
Indigenous Peoples Experience
Gather and explore life through the diversity of First Nations and Métis peoples. The exhibit explores the rich and beautiful cultures of First Nations and Métis Peoples while encouraging visitors to seek out the truths as lived by Indigenous Peoples before and after Canada became a country. In addition, learn about early settlers and the fur trade by touring the 1846 Fort. Streetcar transportation is available to and from the area. Details
Saturdays and Sundays from 12 PM – 4 PM
Fort Edmonton Park
$12 to $20
You may also like: Notorious Cree at Arden Theatre, St Albert on October 2nd: Ranked among the Top 5 hoop-dancers in the world, Notorious Cree is a men’s fancy powwow dancer who blends traditional hoop and powwow with hip-hop and street dance mixed with storytelling and comedy.
Elder’s Storytelling Series
Join on Orange Shirt Day for a virtual and interactive discussion with an Elder as they share stories of their healing journey as a survivor of Residential School. Also, learn some facts about Residential Schools that you may not know. Details
Thursday September 30, 2021 | 11:30 AM – 1 PM
Indigenous Writers’ Panel – Literature on Intergenerational Trauma and Healing
Join UCalgary’s Office of Indigenous Engagement, in partnership with the Calgary Public Library, in welcoming Eden Robinson, Richard Van Camp and Lee Maracle who will share their literature on intergenerational trauma and Indigenous resilience. Details
Thursday September 30, 2021 | 12 PM – 1:30 PM
Monkey Beach – Film Screening and Discussion
Monkey Beach is a feature film adapting the novel by Eden Robinson. The film explores the healing journey steeped in intergenerational trauma. Followed by a discussion with director Loretta Todd and actors Tina Lameman and Nathaniel Arcand. Hosted by Judy Aldous from CBC’s Alberta at Noon. Details
Thursday, September 30, 2021 | 6:30 PM – 9 PM
Expanding Our Relations: Oral concepts of understanding
You are invited to join for a rich cultural experience to discuss the roles of traditional care and kinship; not just for our homes, but for all spaces we are in. Guests will speak from each of their perspectives: an Elder, a Non-Indigenous ally, a frontline human services worker, a parent, and a youth. You will hear from a parent and youth as they engage in an honest, and open conversation on how embedding cultural and traditional practices has supported their growing relationship. There will be time for your questions built into this session. Hosted by Trellis.
Thursday September 30, 2021 | 1:00 PM – 3:00 PM
Western Science Meets Indigenous Wisdom
Modern science increasingly recognizes something Indigenous cultures have long known: Everything exists in dynamic flux — everything vibrates — and everything is in relation to everything else. This Faculty of Social Work panel discussion examines parallels between Indigenous ways of knowing and modern science. Details
Thursday September 30, 2021 | 2:00 PM – 3:30 PM
Truth and Reconciliation Week Programming
By National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation. The programming will feature short videos created by Indigenous storytellers, followed by conversations with Elders, Knowledge Keepers, Survivors, and the children of Survivors of residential schools. Throughout the week we’ll share artistic and cultural performances by First Nations, Métis, and Inuit artists. There will also be a moving tribute to the Missing Children that never returned home from the residential schools. Details
On Sept 30th programming includes The Mamawi Project: Métis queer, trans and two-spirit histories, Mi’kmaq Ancient History told in Storytelling Fashion, HERITAGE de Benjamin Murray, Legacy of Hope: Truth and Reconciliation Allyship, Carrying On the Tradition- Inuit Games/Arctic Sports, The National Arts Centre: Indigenous Performing Arts, Keeping Reconciliation Alive: Learning from a Truth and Reconciliation Commissioner.
Programming from Sept 27 to October 1, 2021
Produced by NCTR in collaboration with Insight Productions, “National Day for Truth and Reconciliation” will broadcast nationally. This unique one-hour, commercial-free primetime special honours the stories and perspectives of Indigenous Peoples affected by the tragedies of the residential school system in Canada, with musical tributes and ceremonies in Indigenous communities across the land. Details
Thursday, September 30 at 8 PM. ET
APTN, CBC, CBC Gem, ICI TÉLÉ and ICI TOU.TV.
APTN National Day for Truth & Reconciliation
APTN will be offering a full day of programming to raise awareness about the significance and meaning of NDT&R. It will include special coverage in honour of residential school survivors, their families, and their communities. Details
Thursday, September 30 at 6 AM onwards
APTN Lumi or by watching APTN on your local TV network.
Read or get resources from Edmonton Public Library in-person or online.
- EPL’s Reading List to learn more about Indigenous Canada.
- 37 books by Indigenous writers: a booklist designed to help readers understand residential schools by Strathcona County Library
September 30th is also Orange Shirt Day, which is an Indigenous-led grassroots commemorative day that honours the children who survived Indian Residential Schools and remembers those who did not. This day relates to the experience of Phyllis Webstad, a Northern Secwpemc (Shuswap) from the Stswecem’c Xgat’tem First Nation, on her first day of school, where she arrived dressed in a new orange shirt, which was taken from her. It is now a symbol of the stripping away of culture, freedom and self-esteem experienced by Indigenous children over generations. Details
Exhibitions & Art
Visit Art Galleries online to learn more about indigenous peoples’ way of life, their art and culture.
- Virtual Art Tours at Quamajuq (Winnipeg): Book a 60-minute virtual tour of the art on display at Qaumajuq, the world’s first Inuit Art Centre. Join one of the experienced art educators to explore the collection or feature exhibitions and enjoy lively conversations around the art.
- INUA Virtual Experience: INUA brings together more than 90 Inuit artists from across the Arctic, urban south, and circumpolar communities and is curated by a team representing all four regions of Inuit Nunangat.
- Ociciwan Contemporary Art Centre: Visit this art gallery to take in artworks by contemporary artists.
- Explore Edmonton’s Indigenous Art Park at ᐄᓃᐤ (ÎNÎW) River Lot 11∞ – Queen Elizabeth Park (10380 Queen Elizabeth Park Rd)
- Visit Healing Garden / Kâkesimokamik in St. Albert
- Rediscover Alberta from an Indigenous point of view.
- Learn more about indigenous history and the history and legacy of residential schools through movies for free on the National Film Board of Canada website.
- Watch Courtney Montour’s Mary Two-Axe Earley: I Am Indian Again, which shares the powerful story of Mary Two-Axe Earley, who fought for more than two decades to challenge sex discrimination against First Nations women embedded in Canada’s Indian Act at Edmonton International Film Festival (October 1 to 10, 2021)
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What is Open-Closed
September 30th is a federal statutory holiday. All federally regulated companies and Crown-owned corporations like Service Canada, banks, Canada Post etc: Closed
Malls, grocery stores: Open
- Edmonton Public Schools and Catholic School: Closed
- University of Alberta: Closed
- MacEwan University: Open
City of Edmonton Tourist Attractions:
Most tourist attractions are open unless they are closed due to seasonal closure.
- Normal Service
- Normal Service
- Eco Stations closed on September 30.