Orange Shirt Day: National Day for Truth and Reconciliation

Books on Truth and Reconciliation | Books on Residential Schools | Organizations and opportunities for donations and action | Films | Podcasts | Events, activities, and additional links (UTSC and UTL)

September 30th is recognized in Canada as the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation. This day of remembrance and contemplation was established by the federal government in response to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Calls to Action #80. September 30 coincides with Orange Shirt Day, which remembers the story of Phyllis (Jack) Webstad, a former residential school student who had her orange shirt taken away on her first day at residential school.

To commemorate the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation and Orange Shirt day, UTSC Library staff and librarians curated a list of resources to encourage learning and reflection on past events but also to support action toward our shared responsibility for reconciliation. 

UTSC community members are invited to submit their suggestions via this form.

Truth and Reconciliation Calls to Action

Books on Truth and Reconciliation

Truth and Indignation: Canada's Truth and Reconciliation Commission in Indian Residential Schools (Niezen, 2017)

Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada: Calls to Action (Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada, 2015)

The Survivors Speak: A Report of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada (Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada, 2015)

Canada's Residential Schools: The Final Report of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada (Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada, 2015)

Honouring the Truth, Reconciling for the Future : Summary of the Final Report of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada (Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada, 2015)

Arts of Engagement: Taking Aesthetic Action In and Beyond the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada (Martin, Robinson, & Garneau, 2016)

The Sleeping Giant Awakens : Genocide, Indian Residential Schools, and the Challenge of Conciliation (MacDonald, 2019)

From Truth to Reconciliation: Transforming the Legacy of Residential Schools (Castellano, Archibald, & DeGagné, 2008)

Resurgence and Reconciliation: Indigenous-Settler Relations and Earth Teachings (Asch, Borrows, & Tully, 2018)

Unreconciled: Family, Truth, and Indigenous Resistance (Wente, 2021)

Finding my talk: how fourteen Native women reclaimed their lives after residential school (Grant, 2004)

Books on Residential Schools

They Came for the Children: Canada, Aboriginal Peoples, and Residential Schools (Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada staff, 2012)

Residential Schools, With the Words and Images of Survivors (Loyie, Spear, & Brissenden, 2014)

Five Little Indians: A Novel Paperback (Good, 2020)

The Education of Augie Merasty: A Residential School Memoir (Merasty & Carpenter, 2017)

Indian Horse: A Novel (Wagamese, 2012)
Shi-shi-etko (Campbell & LaFave, 2005)
Seven Fallen Feathers: Racism, Death, and Hard Truths in a Northern City (Talaga, 2017)
They Called Me Number One: Secrets and Survival at an Indian Residential School (Sellars, 2012)

Unsettling Canada: A National Wake-Up Call (Manuel & Derrickson, 2015)

Secret Path (Downie & Lemire, 2016)

My Name is Seepeetza (Sterling, 1997)

High school and beyond:

A Knock on the Door: The Essential History of Residential Schools from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada (Fontaine, 2016)

Unsettling the Settler Within: Indian Residential Schools, Truth Telling, and Reconciliation in Canada (Regan, 2011)

Middle years:

Speaking Our Truth: A Journey of Reconciliation (Gray Smith, 2017)

Fatty Legs (Pokiak-Fenton, Jordan-Fenton, Amini-Holmes, & Reese, 2010)

Early years:  

Spirit Bear: Fishing for Knowledge, Catching Dreams (Blackstock, Strong, King, & Howden, 2018)

As Long as the Rivers Flow (Bartleman, 2005)

A Girl Called Echo: Volume 1, Pemmican Wars (Vermette, Henderson, & Yaciuk, 2017)

When We Were Alone (Robertson & Flett, 2016)

The Orange Shirt Story (Webstad, 2018)

I Am Not a Number (Dupuis, Kacer, & Newland, 2018)

Sugar Falls: A Residential School Story (Robertson & Henderson, 2011)

Organizations and opportunities for donations and action

National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation

The NCTR is a place of learning and dialogue where the truths of the residential school experience will be honoured and kept safe for future generations.  

The NCTR was created as part of the mandate of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada (TRC). The TRC was charged to listen to Survivors, their families, communities and others affected by the residential school system and educate Canadians about their experiences. The resulting collection of statements, documents and other materials now forms the sacred heart of the NCTR.

The NCTR Archives and Collections is the foundation for ongoing learning and research. Here, Survivors, their families, educators, researchers, and the public can examine the residential school system more deeply with the goal of fostering reconciliation and healing.
Aboriginal Healing Foundation - Residential School Resources
A list of documents related to residential schools curated by the Aboriginal Healing Foundation. Their vision is of all who are affected by the legacy of physical, sexual, mental, cultural, and spiritual abuses in the Indian residential schools having addressed, in a comprehensive and meaningful way, unresolved trauma, putting to an end the intergenerational cycles of abuse, achieving reconciliation in the full range of relationships, and enhancing their capacity as individuals, families, communities, nations, and peoples to sustain their well being. Their mission is to provide resources which will promote reconciliation and encourage and support Aboriginal people and their communities in building and reinforcing sustainable healing processes that address the legacy of physical, sexual, mental, cultural, and spiritual abuses in the residential school system, including intergenerational impacts.
Deepening Knowledge Project – OISE
The Deepening Knowledge Project (DKP) seeks to infuse Indigenous peoples' histories, knowledges and pedagogies into all levels of education in Canada. The project is a part of the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education, University of Toronto, which is located on the territories of Anishinaabe and Onkwehonwe peoples. Led by a group of Indigenous and non-Indigenous faculty, students and staff, DKP provides information about the history and perspectives of First Nations, Métis and Inuit and Native American cultures; information related to the issues of pressing concern to Indigenous peoples and their communities today; as well as curricula for teachers to incorporate this into teaching practice.
Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs Canada

Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs Canada (CIRNAC) continues to renew the nation-to-nation, Inuit-Crown, government-to-government relationship between Canada and First Nations, Inuit and Métis; modernize Government of Canada structures to enable Indigenous peoples to build capacity and support their vision of self-determination; and lead the Government of Canada's work in the North.
Toronto Council Fire Native Cultural Centre
Throughout the year, Council Fire delivers a number of Core programs, special events and workshops. As well, it has a number of community programs that provide assistance and cultural support to its members and to Toronto residents. To facilitate these endeavors, we welcome support in the form of donations/funding, volunteering, and other creative forms of participation.

Individuals and organizations can support the Centre's overall activities or they can support or engage in the advancement of specific initiatives at the Centre. Council Fire provides cultural, social, health, sports, and community programming for youth, adults, seniors and families.
Project of Heart
Project of Heart is an inquiry based, hands-on, collaborative, inter-generational, artistic journey of seeking truth about the history of Aboriginal people in Canada. Its purpose is to:

  • Examine the history and legacy of Indian Residential Schools in Canada and to seek the truth about that history, leading to the acknowledgement of the extent of loss to former students, their families and communities
  • Commemorate the lives of the thousands of Indigenous children who died as a result of the residential school experience.
  • Call Canadians to action, through social justice endeavors, to change our present and future history collectively

Legacy of Hope Foundation
A national Indigenous charitable organization with the mandate to educate and create awareness and understanding about the Residential School System, including the intergenerational impacts such as the removal of generations of Indigenous children from their families, including the Sixties Scoop, the post-traumatic stress disorders that many First Nations, Inuit, and Metis continue to experience, all while trying to address racism, foster empathy and understanding and inspire action to improve the situation of Indigenous Peoples today. The LHF supports the ongoing healing process of Residential School Survivors, and their families and seeks their input on projects that honour them.


Watch the National Film Board of Canada's "Souvenir" series of short experimental films that remix footage from the NFB archives to reflect on Indigenous identity in Canada. You can view each of the films streaming at the links below:


Still here, still healing with Jade Roberts

A podcast that brings awareness to the history and lasting impacts of residential schools as well as the ongoing impacts of colonization. Listen to stories from residential school survivors and learn from discussions with Indigenous youth about topics such as culture, language, identity, and community.

Truth Before Reconciliation with Tammy Wolfe

Truth before Reconciliation, hosted by Tammy Wolfe, provides listeners with a variety of knowledgeable perspectives on both current and historical context of Indigenous truths throughout Canada, in order to educate, inform and encourage reconciliation through community awareness and taking action.

Events, activities, and additional links (UTSC and UTL)

UTSC Takes Action - Capsule Project - Student Experience and Well-being

Share something you did to answer one of the 94 Calls to Action on campus over the past 4 years (submit by Sept. 30th). When filming, please make sure to introduce yourself and your role at UTSC. If you’d like to re-film, you can simply refresh the page. The maximum duration of the video clip is one minute, and this process should take less than 5 minutes of your time to complete! At the end of filming, you'll be asked to input your name and location. Under the prompt for 'location,' please include your title instead.

Truth and Reconciliation Events at U of T Scarborough (September 24 to October 22, 2021)

Orange Shirt Day Resources (U of T Mississauga)

Orange Shirt Day and National Day for Truth and Reconciliation (Faculty of Arts & Science)

National Day for Truth and Reconciliation/Orange Shirt Day Events - Hart House and