September 30th marks Canada’s first National Day for Truth and Reconciliation. It’s an opportunity to raise awareness about the painful consequences of residential school systems. Together, we honor the lost children and Survivors of this cruel system, as well as their families and communities. If you're wondering about how to take meaningful action on this solemn occasion, we’re here to offer some guidance.
Participate in Orange Shirt Day
Orange Shirt Day also falls on September 30th. This commemorative day grew out of the experience of Phyllis Jack Webstad of the Northern Secwpemc (Shuswap) from Stswecem'c Xgat'tem First Nation. On her first day at St. Joseph’s Residential School in 1973, Phyllis wore a new orange shirt given to her by her grandmother. Shortly after she arrived, her shirt was taken away. It was never returned.
The color orange became a reminder of how she was stripped of her culture and freedom. Forty years later, Phyllis spoke publicly about her story and the Orange Shirt Day movement began.
Today, the orange shirt is a symbol of the powerlessness and hardship Indigenous children and their families faced for generations. Wearing orange is a way to honor those who passed and survived, and to remember every child matters. By keeping history fresh, we can avoid repeating it.
Find out whose land you’re on
You might’ve heard people making land acknowledgments, but do you know what they are or what land you are currently on? Indigenous peoples called this land home long before European settlers arrived. In many cases, settlers stole land from Indigenous populations. A land acknowledgment is an important step in reconciliation and involves making a statement that recognizes the traditional territory of the Indigenous people. Such statements can be made before work meetings, school assemblies, and civic events. Through this act, we emphasize the resilience of Indigenous peoples and their deep connection to the land.
To identify the land you’re on, use online resources like Whose Land. Type in your address and gain access to information and maps that identify Indigenous Nations and territories throughout Canada. Native Land is a similar resource that covers all of North America. The Government of Ontario also has First Nations maps. Go a step further and learn more about the rich histories and experiences of First Nations, Inuit, and Métis Peoples.
Support Indigenous-Owned brands
While an important part of reconciliation is reflecting on the past, it’s also important to look to the future and empower Indigenous communities around you. One way to do this is by supporting Indigenous-owned brands. If you need help finding businesses, try exploring the First Nations business directory.
We’re also happy to offer a few recommendations in our area of expertise: skincare. For all-natural products, we love Wildcraft. Laura Whitaker, a Haudenosaunee, and member of the Mohawk Nation from Six Nations of the Grand River Territory, creates quality products at accessible prices. If you’re on the market for new cosmetics, try Cheekbone Beauty. Founded by Anishinaabe-Canadian Jenn Harper, these products are sustainable and eyecatching. Plus, 10% of their sales go to Shannen’s Dream and the First Nations Child & Family Caring Society (FNCFCS). We love a brand that’s making a difference in more ways than one.
On Canada’s first National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, join us in reflecting on the past and taking actions to support an empowered future. Better yet, let’s incorporate these reconciliation efforts into our daily lives.
At Yellow Beauty, we’re here to help you glow. Our natural skincare products— from cleansers to face masks— are designed to be kind to your skin and to the planet. We use wholesome ingredients that have been in style for centuries.
Have questions? Let’s connect via live chat. We want to help you find the right products.
- Bill Graveland/ The Canadian Press
- Darryl Dyck- The Canadian Press