September 30 marks the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, a day to honour the thousands of children who never made it home from residential schools, as well as the survivors, their families and communities.
Also recognized as Orange Shirt Day, this day is an invitation and opportunity to learn about Canada’s history of oppression against Indigenous communities, and to reflect on the actions needed to move forward towards reconciliation.
Indigenous communities continue to face the abuse of basic human rights. Systemic racism, violence, extreme poverty, and lack of food access are just some of the realities faced by Indigenous peoples across the country.
A recent study from PROOF at the University of Toronto showed that almost one-third (30.7%) of Indigenous peoples living off-reserve are food insecure. This was the highest level amongst all groups compared, even when incomes were equal. Among those who live in urban areas, nearly one-quarter (24%) live below the poverty line, almost twice the percentage of non-Indigenous peoples in the same areas (Statistics Canada).
As a Rights-Based organization, Daily Bread Food Bank is committed to facilitating food access to communities in need. At the same time, we call on all levels of government to create the conditions needed to ensure everyone can realize their right to food.
Today, we will be reflecting on the struggles faced by Indigenous communities, our commitments, and the actions we can all take to make change. We invite you to do the same.
Here are some ways we can all participate in this important day of remembrance:
- Read the calls to action of the Truth and Reconciliation Committee
- Participate in community events, like Toronto Council Fire’s Indigenous Legacy Gathering at Nathan Phillips Square from 7:00am-8:00pm, on September 30, 2022
- Read a book:
- “The Marrow Thieves” by Cherie Dimaline: A young-adult novel set in a dystopian future which draws from the history of residential schools
- “This Place: 150 Years Retold”: An anthology of graphic novels authored by multiple Indigenous creators exploring the history of the last 150 years
- “Sugar Falls: A Residential School Story” by David Alexander Robertson: A graphic novel inspired by the real-life story of a residential school survivor
- “Fatty Legs” by Margaret-Olemaun Pokiak-Fenton & Christy Jordan-Fenton: An illustrated memoir appropriate for ages 9-11 of an Inuit girl who attended a residential school
- “Seven Fallen Feathers: Racism, Death and Hard Truths in a Northern City” by Tanya Talaga: A book written by an investigative journalist that looks at the story of seven Indigenous high school students who died in Thunder Bay, Ont.
Photo credit: John Woods, The Canadian Press