National Day for Truth and Reconciliation

On September 30, 2021, we stand in solidarity with Indigenous peoples to recognize the lasting impacts of the Canadian Residential School system. On this day we take pause to honour the victims, the survivors, their families, and communities, and reflect on our commitment to reconciliation and healing.

The ongoing impact of Residential Schools published in The Truth and Reconciliation Commission Report in 2015 included 94 Calls to Action. Action 80 called upon the federal government, in collaboration with Aboriginal peoples, to establish a statutory holiday “to honour Survivors, their families, and communities, and ensure that public commemoration of the history and legacy of Residential Schools remains a vital component of the reconciliation process.”  In recognition of Action 80, the government of Canada passed legislation to make September 30th a federal statutory holiday called the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation. It is a day that is designated as an opportunity to ‘recognize and commemorate the legacy of residential schools.’

The UBC School of Kinesiology invites you to take this day to learn about the legacy of colonialism and the terrible impact residential schools had on our Indigenous peoples, to take time for quiet reflection and/or to participate in a community event.


Become Aware

Orange Shirt Day:
One way you can show your solidarity with Indigenous peoples on September 30th is to wear an orange shirt. Since 2013, Orange Shirt Day has been observed on this day as a movement to recognize the colonial legacy of residential schools, to raise awareness and to take action on the ongoing process of reconciliation.

Orange Shirt Day recalls the experience of residential school Survivor Phyllis Webstad from the Stswecem’c Xgat’tem First Nation (Canoe Creek Indian Band) who at six was stripped of her shiny new orange shirt on her first day attending the St. Joseph Mission Residential School near Williams Lake, BC. The date of September 30 was chosen because it was the time of year when Indigenous children were removed from their families and forced to attend residential schools. Today Phyllis is the Executive Director of the Orange Shirt Society, which encourages local school districts, organizations, and the general public to wear orange, discuss the legacy of residential schools and to build bridges with each other for reconciliation.

To learn more: Click Here.


Selected Literary Readings:

  • Indian Horse – Richard Wagamese
  • Five Little Indians – Michelle Good
  • The Inconvenient Indian – Thomas King
  • Mamaskatch; Peyakow – Darrel McLeod
  • The Break; The Strangers – Katherena Vermette
  • Split Tooth – Tanya Tagaq
  • A History of My Brief Body – Billy Ray Belcourt
  • Indian School Days – Basil Johnston
  • Kiss of the Fur Queen – Tomson Highway

Learn about UBC’s Indigenous Strategic Plan

UBC is committed to implementing the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and to taking a human rights-based approach to our Indigenous strategic framework. UBC’s Indigenous Strategic Plan (ISP) sets out a series of eight goals and 43 actions the university will collectively take in the implementation of Indigenous peoples’ human rights. The ISP was created with input from more than 2,500 students, faculty, and staff across both campuses, including Indigenous students, faculty and staff, and Indigenous community partners. The ISP is a living document and will be reviewed every three years in consultation with the UBC community and our Indigenous partners.

The School of Kinesiology is committed to action on UBC’s ISP through education, research, teaching, student support and community engagement. As National Day for Truth and Reconciliation approaches, all members of the School of Kinesiology community are encouraged to participate in UBC and community sponsored events. Events sponsored/ supported by the School of Kinesiology include:

September 26: Rainforest Trail Run The School of Kinesiology is a sponsor of this event together with other academic units at UBC (Faculty of Land and Food Systems, Department of Family Practice), the First Nations Health Authority, and community/corporate partners. The School is providing free registrations for Indigenous students and members of the Musqueam community. We look forward to seeing you there with an orange shirt.

September 30: Intergenerational March to commemorate Orange Shirt Day: Begins at 11:45 at the UBC Indian Residential School History and Dialogue Centre:

Other UBC Events:
September 21, 4:30-7:00 PM, Virtual Event: “Picking up the Pieces: The Making of the Witness Blanket” Film Screening and conversation with Kwagiulth master carver Carey Newman and his sisters Marion and Ellen

September 27, 11 AM -1 PM, Chan Centre: “Returning Home and Pathways to Reconciliation” Film screening and conversation with Orange Shirt Day originator Phyllis Webstad.

Take Action Towards Reconciliation

The Indian residential schools operated across Canada, with the final residential school closing in 1996. Indigenous peoples of Canada carry a legacy of untold pain and suffering that continue to have intergenerational impacts.

Take Action to Heal
The School invites all members of its community, faculty, staff, and students to read and sign the following Personal Pledge of Reconciliation.

We invite you to read a journal entry written by the late Carley Rosaline Kennedy (1987 – 2014), an Indigenous student in the School of Kinesiology who received a posthumous Bachelor of Kinesiology degree on May 22, 2014. Carley was particularly interested in addressing health inequities amongst Aboriginal peoples and worked throughout the province with Aboriginal community leaders. In her journal entry, Carley expresses the pain of her grandmother’s experience in residential School. To read her entry, please Click Here.

In memory of Carley Kennedy, a scholarship was endowed, the ‘Carley “Kitty” Rosaline Kennedy Memorial Leadership Award for Aboriginal Students’. The Award is open to all Aboriginal School of Kinesiology students registered in Years 3 or 4 of any program. To learn more click here.

Participate in the Rainforest Trail Run
The UBC School of Kinesiology encourages you to participate in the annual Rainforest Trail Run, on Sunday September 26, 2021, in the lush rainforest trail in Central Park, Burnaby. The RainForest Trail Run is a community event to celebrate health and fitness for all while honouring the culture of our First Nations.

Professor emeritus in the UBC School of Kinesiology, Dr. Doug Clement, founder of the famous Sun Run, has established a 5- and 10km Rainforest Trail Run — a celebration of the health and vibrancy of the Indigenous cultures on whose territory we live, work, and play.

As a supporting partner of the Rainforest Trail Run, the School of Kinesiology hopes that members of the community will take part in helping to deliver on Action 90 of the Truth and Reconciliation Calls to Action: the call to Sports and Reconciliation.

“…We call upon the federal government to ensure that national sports policies, programs, and initiatives are inclusive of Aboriginal peoples…”


There are many events from which you may choose to participate in and take action for healing and reconciliation here at UBC, in the community at a local level or at a national level. Please see a listing of some of the events available below:

Sept 25 UBC Event – Honour With Orange: Lantern Workshop and Indigenous Stories (MOA)
Sept 26 Rainforest Trail Run
Sept 27-Oct 1 Truth and Reconciliation week events (National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation)
Sept 27-Oct 29 UBC Event – Exhibits: Generations Lost: Healing the Legacy of Residential Schools
Sept 30 UBC Event – Sound House: Never Forgotten (MOA)
Sept 30 UBC Event – Intergenerational March to commemorate Orange Shirt Day
Sept 30 Prime-time broadcast (on APTN and CBC/Radio-Canada) for the National Day For Truth and Reconciliation
Oct 12 UBC Event – Defining Meaningful Allyship in the Quest for Reconciliation
Oct 14 UBC Event – Challenging Ideology: Looking at Historical Museum Practices Through an Indigenous Lens Part 1
Oct 28 UBC Event – Challenging Ideology: Looking at Historical Museum Practices Through an Indigenous Lens Part 2
Nov 2 UBC Event – The Residential Settlement Process with the Honourable Justice Leonard Marchand