National Day for Truth and Reconciliation

September 30

Remembering and honouring residential school survivors and their families.

nīkānītān manācihitowinihk | ni manachīhitoonaan

“Let us lead with respect”

The National Day for Truth and Reconciliation is a federal statutory holiday under the Canada Labour Code.

The University of Saskatchewan’s decision to observe this new statutory holiday aligns with the university’s national efforts toward reconciliation.

The university will remain closed this day which coincides with Orange Shirt Day so students, staff, and faculty can reflect on and participate in this integral day.  See below for events and programming held throughout the week.

The Truth and Reconciliation Commission - Calls to Action

The National Day for Truth and Reconciliation responds to Call to Action 80 from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada: Calls to Action, which reads:

  1. We call upon the federal government, in collaboration with Aboriginal peoples, to establish, as a statutory holiday, a National Day for Truth and Reconciliation 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.


Events and Programming

Huskies Cross-Country "Sled Dog" In honour of Residential School Survivors

Saturday, September 25, 2021
3 KM community survivor walk, run or jog beginning at 9 AM. Women's and men's 8 km races begin at 11 am and 12 am, respectively.
LocationVictoria Park

Third annual event promoting education, awareness and healing for our student-athletes, fellow university competitors and our community. 

Campus lighting in recognition of Truth and Reconciliation

Monday, September 27, 2021
Time: 7 pm
Location: Streamed from Gordon Oakes Red Bear Student Centre

Join President Peter Stoicheff and Elders Florence Highway, Evelyn Linklater and Norman Fleury as the university lights our buildings in orange to recognize the National Day of Truth and Reconciliation and to reflect on what truth and reconciliation means for its campus community.

Wear your orange shirt

September 27 through September 30, 2021

Wear your orange shirt for the week of Sept 27 as message to yourself and others that you are committed to taking action.

The Canadian Agency for Drugs and Technologies in Health

Monday, September 27, 2021
Location: Webinar is free to attend, but registration is required

(CADTH) is hosting a webinar for the upcoming National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, which focuses on National Truth and Reconciliation Calls to Action: Opportunities and Challenges for Health Care. The event features Dr. Alexandra King, Dr. Alika Lafontaine, Dr. Carrie Bourassa (IIPH) and Elder Harvey Thunderchild.

Two-Spirit Smudge

Tuesday, September 28, 2021
Time: 5:00pm - 6:00pm
Location: Memorial Union Building, Room 105

The USSU Pride Centre welcomes all two-spirit identifying individuals to an exclusive event: Two-Spirit Smudge and Discussion hosted by Kiera Grasby- Munroe and Brooke Laliberte- Pewapisconias from OUTSaskatoon. This event aims to support the queer and Indigenous student populations in making meaningful connections with one another.

Reconciliation in the workplace panel

Wednesday, September 29, 2021
Time: 11:30 am
Location: Virtual - Veertly Online Platform

As part of USask's Careers Day, this panel will discuss these efforts and provide guidance to you, as future employees, on how you can prepare yourself for being an ally and contributing to reconciliation efforts in the workplace.

Orange ribbons

September 27 through September 30, 2021
Pick-up Location: Ribbons are available at Murray Library,  Information Centre in Place Riel and the arts tunnel

The prominence of the orange ribbons on campus will highlight the importance of reconciliation while also encouraging our campus community to spark truthful conversations about Indigenous history and what that means in regard to reconciliation. Ribbons are available to anyone wishing to tie a marker of their awareness somewhere on campus. We hope that the act of displaying a ribbon represents a commitment to learn more and will serve as a reminder throughout the winter. In the spring, as we celebrate a time of renewal, the ribbons will be collected and burned in a sacred fire.

Calls to Action projection

Week of September 27, 2021
Location: Thorvaldson, Murray North, and Peter McKinnon

Projections of the complete TRC 94 calls to Action will be projected on the Peter McKinnon Building, Thorvaldson Building, and the Murray Library Buildings.

Not Just Another Day Off: Orange Shirt Day and the Legacy of Indian Residential Schools

Phyllis Webstad presents her memories of Residential schools and the meaning of Orange Shirt Day.

September 27, 2021, through December 2021
USask Murray Library

The exhibit will be located on the ground and first floors of the Murray Library. It is designed to engage visitors to challenge themselves to learn about the impact of the Indian Residential Schools through thought-provoking questions at various locations within the exhibit. A wide variety of resources are provided to continue our collective learning journey. Wearing an orange t-shirt on September 30th should be a declaration of an active commitment to learn and be a part of the solution rather than be a passive fashion statement.

The exhibit will feature archival documents, published materials, and other physical items from the Library’s collections. By considering treaties, the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, and the TRC Calls to Action, and the exhibit will connect the Residential schools with anti-Indigenous racism and their combined legacies: 

  • The 60’s scoop, 
  • Ongoing child welfare issues, 
  • The over-representation of incarcerated Indigenous peoples, 
  • The hyper-surveillance and policing of Indigenous peoples, 
  • Indian control of Indian education, 
  • Resource extraction, 
  • Missing and murdered Indigenous women, and 
  • Indigenous resistance and resilience.

This exhibition is meant to be a respectful demonstration of the work of generations of Indigenous educators, scholars and community members. We encourage all USask community members and beyond to participate in this learning journey.

Reconciliation in the Public Sector

Wednesday, September 29, 2021
12:00 - 01:30 PM (CST) 
Location: Zoom. Register online. All are welcome.
WebsiteReconciliation in the Public Sector: A Discussion with Saskatchewan Lieutenant Governor the Honourable Russ Mirasty

As public servants and citizens, have you committed to responding to the Truth and Reconciliation’s Calls to Action? Join us to listen and learn about the importance of this day and the need for reconciliation in the public sector. Moderated by JSGS Executive-in-Residence Merelda Fiddler-Potter, this EDI Discussion Series event will feature His Honour the Honourable Russ Mirasty.

Linguistics Lunch: working with Indigenous Languages

Wednesday, September 29, 2021
12:00 - 01:30 PM (CST) 
Location:  Online event. Register

In commemoration of the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, students and faculty in the Department of Linguistics discuss how language work can support reclamation and revitalization of Indigenous languages, and thus contribute to Reconciliation.

USSU Path Forward

October 1, 2021
Time: 10:00am
LocationPlace Riel Student Centre

Please join us on October 1, at 10 am, when Indigenous Knowledge Keeper, Joseph Naytowhow, will smudge Place Riel to purify the space and release negative thoughts, emotions, and energy.

With his guidance, we plan to unpack what “practicing treaty” means in our province today by hosting conversations and formalizing relations with Indigenous communities. We seek to raise awareness on the importance of self-determination through dialogue and evaluate how our practices can be improved to be more inclusive and reflective of our campus. We will ensure the University of Saskatchewan honours commitments of Decolonization, Indigenization, and Reconciliation and that the voices and experiences of Indigenous peoples are amplified in this ongoing journey.  

More Community Events

 Additional ways to get involved 

Orange Shirt Day

Every Child Matters

Orange Shirt
Special thanks to local Indigenous artist Kevin Peeace who generously painted the original design for this year’s shirt.

September 30

The annual Orange Shirt Day on September 30 opens the door to global conversation on all aspects of Residential Schools. It is an opportunity to create meaningful discussion about the effects of Residential Schools and the legacy they have left behind. 

A discussion all Canadians can tune into and create bridges with each other for reconciliation. A day for survivors to be reaffirmed that they matter, and so do those that have been affected. 

Every Child Matters, even if they are an adult, from now on.

About this year's design

Special thanks to local Indigenous artist Kevin Peeace who generously painted the original design for this year’s shirt. Proceeds from the sales of these shirts will be directed toward a Spring 2022 sequel to the Gathering for miyomahcihowin and the Saskatoon Residential School Survivors Circle.

Learn about the partnerships that helped share original artwork by Indigenous artist Kevin Peeace with the USask community.

"This painting speaks to the importance of our children and future generations. My children both used my grandfather’s moss bag, which has been in the family for over 100 years. The traditional moss bag represents protection; with the child being held, swaddled, and immersed within our culture. The moss bag is both a traditional and practical item that has been used and continues to be used by my family and many of our relatives."
- Kevin Peeace


Our Stories



Wellness and Support

The University of Saskatchewan was deeply saddened to learn of the discovery of mass and unmarked burial sites of children at former Residential School sites across Canada - a painful reminder of the historic injustices perpetrated against Indigenous peoples. Support resources are available on campus and in the community.

We acknowledge we are on Treaty 6 Territory and the Homeland of the Métis. We pay our respect to the First Nations and Métis ancestors of this place and reaffirm our relationship with one another.