September 30 | The Significance of the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation

To commemorate the second annual National Day for Truth and Reconciliation this Friday, we wish to highlight the significance of this day in Canada and the legal community at large.

In 2013, National Orange Shirt Day was pioneered by former students of St. Joseph Mission Residential School (“SJM”) from the Secwepemc, Tsilhqot’in, Southern Dakelh and St’at’imc Nations. The inspiration behind this movement was the story of Phyllis (Jack) Webstad’s new orange shirt being confiscated on the first day of school at the Mission. Orange Shirt Day recognizes the disconnect of Indigenous children from their families, communities, culture, and identity that occurred in Residential Schools. Orange Shirt Day began as an opportunity to discuss and commemorate the effects of residential schools with survivors and their families, and to commit to the ongoing process of healing and reconciliation.[1] Since 2013, wearing orange on September 30 is a symbol of solidary with this movement.

In June, 2021, the federal government recognized Orange Shirt Day as a statutory holiday across Canada and changed its name to the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation. There are many ways to get involved across the province, and to reflect on the importance of this day and the impact Residential Schools had on the survivors, their families, the intergenerational survivors, and those who did not survive. The LESA office will be closed on Friday, September 30 in recognition of the second annual National Day for Truth and Reconciliation.

LESA’s Indigenous Law Conference (available as a complimentary on-demand program) is a great resource to refer to in the context of Indigenous law. The conference was chaired by Carly Fox, a partner at Fox Fraser LLP and a member of the Kainai/Blood Tribe.[2]  The conference focuses on the plurality of legal systems and how Indigenous law co-exists within common law. It also examines cultural biases and how different cultures and experiences impact legal processes and procedures. To access LESA’s free Indigenous Law Conference (On-Demand) visit the LESA website here.

The LESA blog will highlight the achievements of various Indigenous members of the Alberta legal community in the coming weeks.  If you, or someone you know, is a member of the Indigenous community and working within the Alberta legal profession, please send us a note at [email protected].

LESA acknowledges the traditional territories of the Indigenous peoples of Canada. Alberta is comprised of lands covered by Treaties 6, 7, and 8 which include the traditional territories, meeting grounds, gathering places, and travelling routes of the Cree, Saulteaux, Blackfoot, Métis, Dene, Nakota Sioux, the Blackfoot Confederacy (comprised of the Siksika, Kainai, and Piikani First Nations), the Tsuut’ina and Stoney Nakoda Nations, and the Métis Nation. We respect the histories, languages, and cultures of First Nations, Métis, Inuit, and all First Peoples of Canada, whose footsteps have marked these lands for centuries.

[1] “The Story of Orange Shirt Day,” online: The Orange Shirt Society  [].

[2] “Carly Fox,” online: Fox Fraser Law []

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