How will you spend the day?

This September 30, we encourage CASWE-ACFTS members to attend and participate in events to witness and commemorate Orange Shirt Day and its federal recognition as the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation.


Orange Shirt Day was initiated in 2013 through a St. Joseph Mission Residential School commemoration project in Williams Lake, British Columbia. Phyllis (Jack) Webstad spoke about her first day at residential school and how her new orange shirt was taken away. More than five years after the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Call to Actions were released, this same day will formally be marked as a federal statutory holiday addressing Call to Action #80 and the advocacy efforts of many survivors and their families, communities and nations.

We recognize that there are many social work educators, staff and students who are themselves survivors or intergenerational survivors of residential schools; we honour you and your loved ones and hope that you will be wrapped up in all that you need on this day and the days to come.

For many of us, September 30 is an opportunity to join ongoing efforts led by residential school survivors, their families, communities and nations. It is an opportunity to sit, watch and listen to survivors and their calls for truth, healing, justice and action. It is a time to honour the lives and spirits of the little ones who did not make it home and the families, communities and nations who continue to grieve their loss. For all of us in social work and social work education, we can use this opportunity to reflect on our efforts in truth-telling and healing, witnessing and learning, and commit to meaningful action in our everyday lives and spheres of influence.

Last year, CASWE-ACFTS hosted a national dialogue in recognition of Orange Shirt Day in response to a request by Cree social work student, Andrea Thibodeau (Frog Lake First Nation). This dialogue invited participants to reflect on the significance of Orange Shirt Day, its meaning for social work broadly and social work education specifically, what they hoped for in recognizing the day with their relations, community and/or within their school, and how we might move forward together in a good way as social work educators, staff and students. This year, we invite our members to return to this spirit of reflection in preparing to witness and mark Orange Shirt Day and its federal recognition as the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation.


We have compiled the following list of open events, that you are welcome to attend. Some of these were shared by our member schools. Please pay special attention to the time zones listed.


10 – 11:30 am Eastern
From Truth to Conciliation: Reflections From Residential School Survivors

In honour of Orange Shirt Day, the Centre for Indigenous Initiatives and the Department of Social Work invite you to a conversation with residential school survivors to reflect on truth and conciliation in Canada. Senator Mary Jane McCallum and Elders Irene Barbeau and Thomas Louttit will discuss the intersection between Indigenous experiences with colonialism and settler action towards conciliation.


12 – 1 pm Eastern
Truth Gathering: Truth & Reconciliation Commission
Talk by Professor Wanda Gabriel (Kaniekeha’ka, Kanehsatake)

The Truth and Reconciliation Commission is one of the elements of the residential school survivors’ settlement agreement. In this meaningful encounter, we will take a closer look at the process of this historical commission over their years of operation and how they carefully approached survivors to gather their stories. Particular focus will be on the calls to action and what this means for Canadians. Connecting with McCord’s exhibition Indigenous Voices of Today: Knowledge, Trauma, Resilience, Professor Wanda Gabriel will explore how sharing the stories of trauma and resiliency breaks the code of silence.

Register for attending in person:

Or view livestream:

2 – 3 pm Eastern
Denouncing the Continued Overrepresentation of First Nations Children in Canadian Child Welfare

Indigenous Access McGill and the Centre for Research on Children and Families will host a joint “teach in” in collaboration with the University of Toronto Factor Inwentash Faculty of Social Work on the Findings from the First Nations/Canadian Incidence Study of Reported Child Abuse and Neglect-2019.

Register in advance for the FNCIS Teach In:

2 – 3:30 pm Eastern
University of Toronto Orange Shirt Day [virtual]
Keynote Address by Lee Maracle: Truth Before Reconciliation

To learn more and register:

4-5:30 pm Eastern (2 – 3:30 pm Mountain)
Western Science Meets Indigenous Wisdom

University of Calgary Faculty of Social Work Annual Gayle Gilchrist James Lecture

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. Panellists include Blackfoot Elder Leroy Little Bear and Professor Emeritus Richard Ramsay. 

Blackfoot Elder and residential school survivor Leroy Little Bear, J.D. has said mutual understanding is a first important step to real Reconciliation.


(le français suit)

September 30th at 12 – 2pm (Atlantic)
History of the Wolastoqiyik (Maliseet) Language (lecture and discussion in English)

Guest : Maliseet Elder Allan Tremblay

Mr. Tremblay’s talk will focus on :

  • The negative experiences of Aboriginal youth in schools and residential schools in New Brunswick and Nova Scotia ;
  • His efforts (language teaching; production of bilingual and trilingual dictionaries; translation and interpretation…) to revitalize the Wolastoqiyik (Maliseet) language and culture.
  • His conference will be punctuated by questions and answers, as Mr. Tremblay places great emphasis on discussion and exchange.

    The animation will be provided by Denise Merkle.

Please confirm your participation in the activity by sending a message to Denise Merkle ( In the message, please provide your first name, last name and email address. A link to the Zoom meeting will be sent next Tuesday. Hope to see many of you virtually on September 30, 2021.

History of the Wolastoqiyik (Maliseet) Language (conférence et discussion en anglais)
Invité : l’Aîné malécite Allan Tremblay

La conférence de monsieur Tremblay portera sur :

  • Les expériences négatives vécues par des jeunes autochtones dans les écoles et pensionnats du Nouveau-Brunswick et de la Nouvelle-Écosse;
    ses efforts (enseignement de la langue; production de dictionnaires bilingues, voire trilingues; traduction et interprétation…) en vue de revitaliser la langue et la culture wolastoqiyik (malécites).
  • Sa conférence sera ponctuée de questions et réponses, car monsieur Tremblay met beaucoup l’accent sur la discussion et les échanges.
  • L’animation sera assurée par Denise Merkle.Veuillez confirmer votre participation à l’activité en envoyant un message à Denise Merkle ( Dans le message, veuillez fournir votre prénom, nom et adresse courriel. Un lien à la réunion Zoom sera envoyé mardi prochain.

le 30 septembre 12h00 ET
L’éducation à la réconciliation par Université de Montréal

Sur la recommandation du comité Kwe Kwe, formé d’employés issus des Premières Nations, l’Université de Montréal tiendra plusieurs activités en ce jour de commémoration. Elles visent en premier lieu à offrir aux personnes autochtones de l’Université un moment pour se souvenir et se recueillir. Elles aspirent également à donner à l’ensemble de notre communauté universitaire une occasion de rapprochement et de réconciliation entre allochtones et autochtones, de réflexion sur l’histoire du Canada, de sensibilisation sur le racisme et sur la discrimination.

Inscription et détails :


30 septembre 2021 – 12:30 – 2:30 pm ET (13h30 à 15h30 Atlantique)
Comment aborder l’histoire des pensionnats autochtones / How to talk about residential schools

Dialogue public : Comment aborder l’histoire des pensionnats autochtones avec les jeunes apprenant(e)s?

Afin d’ouvrir la voie, le ministère de l’Éducation et du Développement de la petite enfance, en partenariat avec Dialogue NB, organise un dialogue public avec des intervenants des Premières Nations et du milieu éducatif qui traitera des façons d’aborder le sujet des pensionnats avec les plus jeunes. L’événement virtuel aura lieu le 30 septembre 2021, de 13h30 à 15h30 et a pour titre « Comment aborder l’histoire des pensionnats autochtones avec les jeunes ? ».

Cet événement est ouvert à tous.tes et s’applique à tout le personnel éducatif et à tous.tes celles et ceux qui oeuvrent auprès des enfants et des jeunes, ou qui veulent simplement en apprendre davantage.

La Journée nationale de la vérité et de la réconciliation représente donc une occasion pour tous – autochtones et non-autochtones, de se réunir dans un esprit de solidarité et d’espoir pour les générations à venir. Le slogan « Chaque enfant compte ! » nous rappelle que les droits fondamentaux de tous les enfants, et ce sans exception, doivent être respectés et protégés.


Public dialogue: how to talk about residential schools with young learners

In order to pave the way, the Department of Education and Early Childhood Development, in partnership with Dialogue NB, is organizing a public dialogue with indigenous and educational stakeholders on how to address the subject of residential schools with young learners. The virtual event will take place on September 30, 2021, from 1:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. and is entitled “How to address the history of residential schools with young learners”.

This event is open to all educational personnel and those who work with children and youth, or who simply want to learn more.

The National Day of Truth and Reconciliation is an opportunity for everyone – Indigenous and non-Indigenous alike – to come together in a spirit of solidarity and hope for future generations. The slogan “Every Child Matters” reminds us that the fundamental rights of all children, without exception, must be respected and protected.



National Indian Residential School Crisis Line (24/7): 1-866-925-4419

Phyllis Webstad’s story

Phyllis Webstad – On Orange Shirt Day [Video]
FR soustitre:

Truth and Reconciliation Week events hosted by National Centre for Truth and Reconcilation
Évènements du Centre national pour la vérité et la réconciliation


EN: Statement of Complicity and Commitment to Change
FR: Notre engagement vers le changement

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