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)

Pathways of Reconciliation : Indigenous and Settler Approaches to Implementing the TRC’s Calls to Action (Craft and Regan, University of Manitoba Press, 2020) 

National Inquiry on Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls Calls for Justice (National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls, 2019) 

Reconciliation Manifesto : Recovering the Land, Rebuilding the Economy (Manuel and Derrickson, 2017) 

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

Whose Land Is It Anyway? A Manual for Decolonization (McFarlane and Schabus, 2017)

To discover Indigenous authors, please visit our guide to the Indigenous Book Club - explore this year’s titles and look at the archived pages for previous events. 

For more books, the Toronto Public Library has created a curated a list of Indigenous must-reads to explore Truth and Reconciliation, the residential school system, and beyond.

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)

Resistance and Renewal : Surviving the Indian Residential School (Haig-Brown, 1988) Broken Circle : the Dark Legacy of Indian Residential Schools : a Memoir (Fontaine, 2010) 

These Are My Words : the Residential School Diary of Violet Pesheens (Slipperjack, 2016)

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)

Additional Resources and Learning Experiences

Indigenous Canada is a 12-lesson Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) from the University of Alberta's Faculty of Native Studies that explores the different histories and contemporary perspectives of Indigenous peoples living in Canada. 

Learn more about The Indigenous History of Tkaronto (via University of Toronto Libguide) 

Learn about and honor treaties – and 

Learn about residential schools and take a tour of former sites, including those offered by the Woodland Cultural Centre - which offers a broad array of events and learning opportunities and Mohawk Village Memorial Park to honor the children who attended the Mohawk Institute Indian Residential School, which operated from 1834 to 1970

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.

Please take a moment to explore the Legacy of Hope Foundation’s online exhibitions and educational resources about the history and effects of the residential school system as well as the ongoing experiences facing Indigenous Peoples.

Indigenous organizations, foundations and communities directly supporting Indigenous peoples

Orange Shirt Society

The Orange Shirt Society (Society) is a non-profit organization with its home in Williams Lake, BC where Orange Shirt Day began in 2013, founded by Phyllis (Jack) Webstad and others. The purposes of our Society are as follows to support Indian Residential School Reconciliation, to create awareness of the individual, family and community inter-generational impacts of Indian Residential Schools through Orange Shirt Society activities, and to create awareness of the concept of “Every Child Matters” 

Reconciliation Canada 

Born from the vision of Chief Dr. Robert Joseph, Gwawaenuk Elder, Reconciliation Canada is leading the way in engaging Canadians in dialogue and transformative experiences revitalizing relationships among Indigenous peoples and all Canadians. Their model for reconciliation engages people in open and honest conversation to understand our diverse histories and experiences, charting a New Way Forward. 

Indian Residential School Survivors Society

The Indian Residential School Survivors Society (IRSSS) is a provincial organization that provides essential services to residential school survivors and families experiencing intergenerational trauma. We have been supporting Indigenous people since 1994. 

Canadian Roots Exchange

A national Indigenous youth led organization, CRE collaborates with communities to provide programs, grants and opportunities that are grounded in Indigenous ways of knowing and being and designed to strengthen and amplify the voices of Indigenous youth, and centering their experiences.


Watch films and documentaries that focus on the residential school experience and Truth and Reconciliation through the National Film Board of Canada, which offers an extensive collection of Indigenous-made films.

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.

Telling Our Twisted Histories

Words connect us. Words hurt us. Indigenous histories have been twisted by centuries of colonization. In this podcast, host Kaniehti:io Horn brings us together to decolonize our minds– one word, one concept, one story at a time.

Unreserved with Rosanna Deerchild

Unreserved is the radio space for Indigenous voices – our cousins, our aunties, our elders, our heroes. Rosanna Deerchild guides us on the path to better understand our shared story. Together, we learn and unlearn, laugh and become gentler in all our relations.

U of T events, activities, and additional links

National Day for Truth and National Day for Truth & Reconciliation Commemoration (online) (Hart House, September 29, 2023)

Orange Shirt Day Resources (U of T Mississauga)

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

Indigenous U of T