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National Day of Truth and Reconciliation

30 September 2021
Dear Friends,

Today, people across Canada will mark the first National Day of Truth and Reconciliation.  Coming in the wake of this summer’s tragic discoveries of thousands of unmarked graves at residential schools, this historic day is an opportunity for each of us to learn, reflect, and commit ourselves and our institutions to healing deep and longstanding wounds and forging true partnerships with Indigenous Peoples. 

Today, Prosper Canada staff are taking time to build our understanding of the Indigenous experience in Canada, barriers to healing and reconciliation, and the practical actions we can take to remove or overcome these. Here are some resources we are using, if you’d like to join us.

Learning about the Indigenous experience in Canada and the enduring painful legacies of colonization can sometimes feel overwhelming and cause us to wonder how we can make a difference.  The reality is that we can all make a difference – the important thing is to educate ourselves and to act.  We have included a list of personal actions we can all take below, adapted from Bob Joseph’s book 21 Things you may not know about the Indian Act (pp. 166-167, we have added the headings):

Participate in Indigenous community events
  1. Attend or volunteer at a National Indigenous Peoples Day event.
  2. Participate in a Walk for Reconciliation or organize one.
  3. Attend a pow wow.
  4. Attend and support Indigenous community events.
Read and share Indigenous stories 
  1. Read books by Indigenous authors.
  2. Read books by Indigenous authors to your children.
  3. Donate books by Indigenous authors to school libraries.
Celebrate and support Indigenous cultural expression
  1. Learn the Indigenous names for where you live and work.
  2. Buy food from an Indigenous food truck; eat in an Indigenous-owned restaurant.
  3. Support Indigenous language revitalization.
  4. Attend an Indigenous film and/or music festival.
Mobilize the power of sport to support healthy Indigenous communities
  1.  Donate sports equipment to remote Indigenous communities.
  2.  Donate time to coach Indigenous sports teams in your community.
Stop cultural appropriation 
  1. Support efforts to stop inappropriate usage of Indigenous imagery for mascots.
  2. Speak up when you observe cultural appropriation and ensure you don’t promote cultural appropriation when choosing a Halloween costume.
  3. Ensure you buy authentic Indigenous art.
Encourage others to join in advancing truth and reconciliation
  1. Speak up when you hear someone making derogatory remarks about Indigenous Peoples.
  2. Ask your children’s teachers if they include curriculum related to residential schools and the Indian Act.
  3. Write a letter to your MP to support the dismantling of the Indian Act.
  4. Encourage family and friends to commit to helping you change the world. 
These are small steps we can all take, but institutional and systemic change are also needed and absolutely essential for real progress to occur. For a complete list of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada’s 94 Calls to Action, please visit Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada: Calls to Action and let all of us consider what more we and/or our organizations can do to advance structural change and a more just, inclusive, and promising future for Indigenous communities and Peoples in Canada. 

Elizabeth Mulholland
CEO, Prosper Canada