The National Day for Truth & Reconciliation is coming up next week, and we want to highlight some events happening in Vancouver on September 30th honouring residential school survivors and their families. As well, there are many ways to engage with Indigenous communities throughout the Lower Mainland – on September 30th and beyond.

This year marks the second annual National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, which coincides with Orange Shirt Day (“Every Child Matters”). The day is all about listening to Indigenous voices, asking questions, and assuming responsibility for our continued learning about the history of Canada.

Without further ado, here are 10 things you can do on September 30th this year to recognize the history and legacy of residential schools.

Frozen River (nîkwatin sîpiy)

Krystle Pederson in Frozen River. Photo via Leif Norman, courtesy of Manitoba Theatre for Young People

Carousel Theatre for Young People presents the award-winning story of two 11-year-olds (Wâpam, who is Cree, and Eilidh, who is Scottish) born under the same blood moon, but in different parts of the world. Grandmother Moon narrates the tale, which unfolds from the ancient forests of the past to present-day Manitoba. Written by Michaela Washburn, Joelle Peters, and Carrie Costello – nîkwatin sîpiy explores how reconciliation efforts and environmentalism are connected in a family-friendly play appropriate for all ages.

You can catch a showing on September 30th, as well as anytime between Wednesday, September 28th and October 16th at Waterfront Theatre.

When: Wednesday, September 28th to October 16th, excluding Mondays
Where: 1412 Cartwright Street
Cost: $35 for adults

BC Culture Days: James Harry and Priscilla Omulo

BC Culture Days is devoting Friday, September 30th to showcasing the art of Priscilla Omulo from the Tsartlip Nation and Squamish/Namgis artist James Harry, who recently received the GRIFFIN’s Indigenous Studio Award.

In Weaving Our Story Toward Reconciliation, Priscilla will lead participants in an all-day weaving event that weaves hearts with cedar together. The “nature-filled art piece” will serve as a “Memoriam for Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women” at Blakeburn Lagoons Park. This event will take place at the Kinsmen Hall in Port Coquitlam.

And if you’re in North Van, James Harry will discuss his most recent piece for the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation in collaboration with SOS Children’s Village BC from 1 to 2:30 pm at Griffin Art Projects.

When: Friday, September 30th
Where: 2175 Coquitlam Avenue, Port Coquitlam and Welch Street, North Vancouver
Cost: Free

Orange Shirt Day at Trout Lake

Trout Lake Community Centre and Nisga’a Ts’amiks Vancouver Society invite all to gather and commemorate Orange Shirt Day. The event will take place from 1 pm to 4 pm at John Hendry Park (Trout Lake), and will feature a ceremony, drumming, songs, and stories. Orange shirts will also be sold with proceeds going towards survivors.

When: Friday, September 30th
Where: 1412 Cartwright Street
Cost: Free

Orange Shirt Day at Templeton Welcome Garden

The Hastings Community Association is hosting its own Orange Shirt Day event at the Templeton Welcome Garden, featuring drum performances, Indigenous speakers, garden tours, Earth art, and ice cream. All are welcome from 2 to 5 pm on September 30th to engage with new perspectives surrounded by native plants.

When: Friday, September 30th
Where: 700 Templeton Drive
Cost: Free

Kisiskâciwan by Jeanette Kotowich


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Originally from Treaty 4 territory Saskatchewan, Jeanette Kotowich is a dance artist and choreographer of Nêhiyaw, Métis and mixed settler descent. Her contemporary dances reference ritual, protocol, ancestral knowledge, and our relationship to the natural and Spirit world. Kisiskâciwan is a creative return to Saskatchewan’s landscape, performed by Kotowich in collaboration with Indigenous and non-Indigenous artists.

When: Friday, September 30th and October 1st
Where: 677 Davie Street, Scotiabank Dance Centre
Cost: $34 or $25 for students and seniors

Try authentic bannock

There are numerous Indigenous-owned restaurants and culinary experiences around Vancouver, and we think the stomach is an excellent vehicle for learning, as well as enjoying new flavours. Whether you load up on bannock tacos from Mr. Bannock’s food truck, or partake in bannock and tea at the Indian Residential School History and Dialogue Centre at UBC – there are plenty of spots to choose from.

Where: See our picks above

Intergenerational March on Orange Shirt Day

Speaking of, the UBC Applied Science and Land and Food Systems programs are hosting an intergenerational march on Friday, September 30th. The march aims to be educational and supportive to the Indigenous community and First Nations on campus, and give younger participants the chance to connect with the original inhabitants of the land. As we mentioned above, bannock & tea will be available at the Indian Residential School History and Dialogue Centre. No fees or registration are required to participate.

Where: 1985 Learners’ Walk, UBC

Museum of Anthropology


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On Sunday, September 25th from 11 am to 12:30 pm, the Museum of Anthropology (MOA) will host a Culture Club event with curator of Indigenous programming Damara-Jacobs-Peterson. Families will have the chance to explore the legacy of residential schools and the path toward healing through storytelling and lantern-making.

On Thursday, September 29th from 7 to 9 pm, MOA is slated to host a Sound House event, featuring an orange lantern procession and a dance performance by Tsatu Stalqayu and Spakwus Stolem. Admission is $20, including museum admission.

When: Sunday, September 25th and Thursday, September 29th
Where: 6393 North West Marine Drive

Root Dwellers Fundraiser for Indian Residential School Survivors Society

The Root Dwellers Music Showcase is hosting a fundraiser for the Indian Residential School Survivors Society at the Anza Club. Visitors can expect to see three phenomenal Indigenous musicians and artists: Dakota Bear (hip-hop), JB The First Lady (hip-hop, spoken word), and Hayley Wallis (soul-pop, singer-songwriter). Proceeds will be donated to the Indian Residential Schools Survivors Society (IRSSS).

When: Friday, September 30th
Where: 3 West 8th Avenue, The Anza Club
Cost: $21.51

Skookum Surrey National Day for Truth and Reconciliation

Last but not least, we have Skookum Surrey’s Orange Shirt Day. Expect an afternoon of drumming, sharing, and enjoying tea & bannock at Holland Park. Guests can also learn more about their traditional medicine bags during the event, which lasts from 2 to 4 pm.

When: Friday, September 30th
Where: 13428 Old Yale Road, Surrey
Cost: Free

As this day can be very difficult for survivors, their families, and their communities – sensitivity and allyship are crucial. We hope this list inspires you to participate and engage with the many First Nations communities in Vancouver. To learn more about Indigenous perspectives in Canada and what First Nations define as true reconciliation, you can read the official Calls to Action by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada.