Each year, September 30 marks the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, a day for all Canadians to commemorate the history and legacy of the residential school system.
The day honours the children who never returned home, and the resilience, dignity and strength of Survivors of residential schools, as well as their families and communities. Public commemoration of the tragic and painful history, and ongoing impacts of residential schools is a vital component of the reconciliation process. It's a chance to engage and educate people about our nation’s colonial history and how it has and continues to impact Indigenous communities.
To learn more about Coquitlam’ commitment to Reconciliation, visit coquitlam.ca/reconciliation.
Before it was nationally designated in 2021, September 30 was an Indigenous-led, grassroots commemoration known as Orange Shirt Day. It marked the beginning of the school year, when Indigenous children were removed from their communities to attend residential schools. The last residential school in BC closed in 1983; the last residential school in Canada closed in 1996. Wearing orange throughout September, and especially on September 30, honours both the Survivors and those who didn’t make it home.
The Survivors’ Flag is flown at Coquitlam City Hall on September 30. It was created by the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation in partnership with Survivors and National Indigenous Organizations. It was conceived in 2021 following confirmation of mass unmarked graves found on the grounds of former residential schools. As members of the public inquired about how they could show respect, many Survivors discussed remembrances and the creation of a Survivors’ flag as a salient and accessible symbol to honour the lives impacted by the residential school system. Each element depicted on the flag was carefully selected by Survivors from across Canada.
The City of Coquitlam acknowledges that every individual is at a different stage in their own learning, and is reconciling with their personal history with Indigenous peoples in Canada. The City is sharing the following information to help support community learning and unlearning, and to encourage local residents and businesses to join the City in its journey of reconciliation.
Some City of Coquitlam civic facilities will be closed and some services will be limited on Saturday, September 30 and Monday, October 2. For more information, visit coquitlam.ca/HolidayHours.
Learning about Indigenous people’s history and culture is a step each of us can take on the path to reconciliation.