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  • Writer's pictureAshley Gallant

Honouring Truth and Reconciliation as an Employer

Honouring Truth and Reconciliation as an Employer
Honouring Truth and Reconciliation as an Employer


The National Day for Truth and Reconciliation is September 30th, it is also known as Orange Shirt Day. The day is intended to acknowledge the legacy of Canada’s residential school systems and raise awareness of the experiences and impacts these systems have had on Indigenous families and communities.

While the day is a statutory holiday for employees in the federal government and federally regulated workplaces across some provinces, other workplaces may be wondering how to support employees and honour the day in a meaningful way.

First and foremost, we must acknowledge that truth and reconciliation is ongoing and important. Residential school findings are ongoing; our nation’s dialogue, dedication to uncovering the truth, and reconciliation must also be.

At Artemis, we’ve compiled a list of recommendations from Indigenous leaders and resources. That being said, we need to be mindful not to rely solely on Indigenous people to carry the burden of our learning. We must take responsibility for our education around truth and reconciliation. We hope these resources can help your organization as we honour this day and beyond. This list is certainly not exhaustive, so please share your ideas, too, so we can add to it together.

Listen to uncomfortable truths

The stories of Indigenous children and their families are difficult to hear. It’s important, particularly as non-Indigenous people, to sit with these hard truths as a starting point to reconciliation, as it starts with education.

  • Read books and articles by Indigenous authors

  • Look for opportunities to hear survivors speak either formally, or through following Indigenous creators online

  • Visit cultural centres and events

Support Orange Shirt Day

Orange Shirt Day originated in 2013 to honour residential school survivors and their families. The symbolism of the Orange Shirt stemmed from Phyllis Jack Webstad’s experience as a residential school survivor and now community leader, when she was stripped of her orange shirt on her first day in residential school at six years old.

  • Wear an orange shirt! Or purchase one where proceeds go towards Indigenous initiatives

  • Participate in an Orange Shirt Day event

Support Indigenous-led Businesses and Community Organizations

Indigenous-led businesses and community organizations will reflect a spectrum of Indigenous experiences in Canada, they are varied and diverse. While showing your support financially is most impactful, there other are non-monetary ways to contribute, too.

  • Follow and share content from Indigenous brands and creators

  • Look for volunteer opportunities to amplify efforts

  • Write a positive review for an Indigenous-owned business you have supported

Be intentional about how Truth and Reconciliation are fostered in your organization

Consider other ways you can support truth and reconciliation year-round by reviewing existing workplace policies and encouraging ongoing education.

  • Consider giving your employees time off to reflect on what Truth and Reconciliation means to them

  • Hold learning and education sessions, curated and hosted by Indigenous leaders, and ensure that Indigenous knowledge keepers are compensated appropriately for their time, travel etc.

  • Educate employees about land acknowledgements and their purpose

  • Encourage employees to participate in Indigenous activism

  • Provide resources, such as access to mental health support, to employees who may feel compelled to use them

  • Empower employees to take responsibility for their own education around truth and reconciliation. To reiterate, we need to be mindful not to rely solely on Indigenous people to carry the burden of our learning

Reconciliation is unique to everyone. The National Day for Truth and Reconciliation encourages education, reflection, and action. In addition to connecting with Indigenous people in your local community, we hope these resources and suggestions will assist as your workplace honours the stories and experiences of Indigenous people as we collectively work towards reconciliation. Please let us know what we’ve missed, we’d like to add your ideas too!

Curious about other Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion workplace resources? Check out our website for more.

Resource List:

National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation (NCTR):

Indigenous Services Canada:

Reconciliation Canada:

  • This nonprofit organization promotes dialogue, understanding, and reconciliation between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples. Their website offers resources and events.

  • Website: Reconciliation Canada

Legacy of Hope Foundation:

  • This foundation focuses on educating Canadians about the history and legacy of residential schools. Their website has educational resources.

  • Website: Legacy of Hope Foundation

First Nations, Métis, and Inuit Education Associations:

Featured Indigenous authors, artists, and content creators:


Every Child Matters Artwork by Artist Alanah Jewell / Morningstar Designs
Every Child Matters Artwork by Artist Alanah Jewell / Morningstar Designs

Alanah Jewell / Morningstar Designs, Indigenous youth, artist and organizer. Oneida Nation of the Thames. She/her. (Via Twitter) . Follow Alanah on Instagram and check out her website.

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