September 30 marks the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation. The day honours survivors of residential schools, the children who never returned home, and the families and communities that have been impacted by these schools.
Orang Shirt Day shares the same date as National Day for Truth and Reconciliation. This day was also created to raise awareness about residential schools and to promote the concept of “Every Child Matters.” The orange shirt is a symbol of the stripping away of culture, freedom, and self-esteem experienced by Indigenous children, over generations.
The Indigenous Tourism BC website has information on the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and calls to action, the importance about creating safe spaces to have ongoing dialogue, ways to engage with the Indigenous community, and it emphasizes that reconciliation is unique for everyone.
The website also includes a page where you can discover things to do.
Youth who access CHV’s programs and services
We know from annual homeless counts in Vancouver that Indigenous Peoples are overrepresented in many areas including homelessness. We know racism, systemic racism, prejudice, oppression, and historical trauma contribute to this overrepresentation. In the 2020 Vancouver Homeless Count, Indigenous Peoples were 13.2 times more likely to experience homelessness, and last year, 27% of the youth served at Covenant House self-identified as Indigenous.
From information that CHV has collected, last year, we found that:
- 70% of self-identified Indigenous youth who are involved with our Case Management and/or Housing Support program demonstrated an ability to improve or maintain housing
- CHV Outreach served 118 individual youth who self-identified as Indigenous
- CHV Outreach met 27 new youth who self-identified as Indigenous and introduced them to our programs
- 126 individual youth who self-identified as Indigenous attended our Drop-In Centre
- Of all the youth that Outreached served, 32% self-identified as Indigenous. This means that these youth are typically either living on the street, living independently in SROs or private rentals, or are living at other shelters
Ways to get involved
Wear orange. Both National Day for Truth and Reconciliation and Orange Shirt Day take place on September 30th.
Miss 604 has a very comprehensive list of ways to be involved along with resources and calls to action. Check them out.
This may be a difficult day for many and the Indian Residential School Survivors Society Emergency Crisis Line is available 24/7 for those that may need counselling or support. You can call 1-800-721-0066 or the 24-hr crisis line 1-866-925-4419.