How to Meaningfully Engage with Truth and Reconciliation
Orange Shirt Day began in 2013 to educate people about the residential school system, honour the healing journey of survivors and their families, and commit to the ongoing process of reconciliation.
The day is named after Phyllis (Jack) Webstad’s experience. Her favourite orange shirt, gifted to her by her grandmother, was taken away on her first day at a residential school when she was six. We now wear orange shirts on September 30th to commemorate each person impacted by residential schools – all of whom have their own stories.
This year, we have grieved together as thousands of children have been uncovered in unmarked graves, some of which have connections to our Métis community. To this day, the terrible legacy of the system designed to disconnect Indigenous children from their families and culture has had lasting impacts on generations of our communities and loved ones.
Recently, the Canadian government declared September 30th as the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation. We know this day can give rise to difficult memories and emotions, which is why we want to use this opportunity to reaffirm Every Child Matters – including Métis children.
Our department plays a key role in supporting Métis children and families. In keeping with our goal of walking alongside Métis families in connection to community and culture, we have some suggestions for recognizing the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation.
Spend September 30th engaging in activities that heal you, honour survivors, promote reconciliation, and celebrate and reclaim Métis culture and identity. Doing so is a powerful act of love for ourselves and our communities.
Embrace Métis Culture
- Prepare traditional foods with family or friends to share. Here’s a family friendly Bannock recipe you can try
- Draw your own Métis flower beadwork using sidewalk chalk, or print off and colour a Métis Beadwork activity sheet
- Enjoy and support Métis music
- Learn about and dance the Red River Jig
- Design and colour your own orange shirt
- Try your hand at finger weaving by watching these videos. Video one (closed loop method) and video two (open strand method)
- Download and print Métis colouring and activity sheets
Educate and Act
- Check out a variety of informative videos on the MNA, MNA Youth, and Rupertsland Institute YouTube channels
- Increase your knowledge with this reading list from survivors of residential schools
- Learn about the history of Métis River Lots in the Edmonton area as well as River Lots 23 and 24 in St. Albert
- Delve into the mystery of Métis Cabins with this virtual four-part series from Fort Calgary
- If you feel called to do so, donate to Indigenous organizations in your community or share information with others so they know where they can donate
Connect with Loved Ones and the Land
- Go for a nature walk with loved ones using our Youth Team’s Plant Walk Guide
- Share stories with your family and loved ones. We recommend Stories of Métis Women: Tales My Kookum Told Me
- Use your MNA Parks Pass
- Visit important sites for Métis people in your region like Métis Crossing, Rocky Mountain House Historic Site, the Fort Edmonton Indigenous Peoples Experience, and River Lot 11
- Explore the land with Métis tour guides at Jasper Tour Company and Talking Rock Tours
- Spend time walking and playing with your pets
Prioritize Your Wellness
- Schedule time to connect with someone at the MNA Wellness Program
- Meditate, try mindful breathing, or engage in a spiritual practice meaningful to you
- Do activities that comfort and ground you
However you choose to recognize the day, know we stand with you as part of the Métis Nation. Reach out to talk anytime by calling 780-455-2200 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. We’d love to hear from you and offer support any way we can.