Today, September 30th, marks the first annual National Day for Truth and Reconciliation. United Way Newfoundland and Labrador will keep our office open today, but have given space to our staff to spend time to learn and reflect on what true reconciliation would mean for our province and country.
Through our community fund, and through the Emergency Community Support Fund (funded by the Federal Government) we have supported several initiatives and programs that have been Indigenous led, or supporting those communities. One group we have supported in the past has been the Nukum Munik Shelter in the Sheshatshiu Innu First Nation.
For over 20 years the Nukum Munik Shelter has been providing front-line support to the women in the Sheshatshiu Innu First Nation in northern Labrador. With 14 beds in their facility they are able to provide a safe haven for women and their children at the shelter. The shelter works tirelessly to give back to their community through different programs and activities. These help both the women and children in their care and the area as a whole feel more connected.
In 2020 the Sheshatshiu Innu First Nation received a Community Fund grant to help fund their “Sewing Together and Healing the Hurt” program. Given the remoteness of the community it can be difficult to find suitable activities to pass the time, especially in winter. The sewing program aims to change that by providing a safe environment for the women of the shelter to learn how to create their own traditional clothing for local events and ceremonies. The sewing projects will also become available to the wider community once the workers and clients of the shelter are well versed in the skill.
We would also like to share resources to help you reflect and grow on your own journey:
- To start, we would recommend learning about #Beyond94. Beyond 94 refers to the 94 recommendations made by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and tracks their progress over time. Click here to learn more.
- Take a moment to listen to Indigenous voices from these recordings of a Day to Listen. A Day to Listen was a radio event held last June that uplifted Indigenous voices from across the country, interviews, stories, and more are available to listen to here.
- Consider wearing an orange shirt today, to honour Orange Shirt Day. Orange Shirt day began in 2013 to remember and reflect on the story of Phyllis Webstad, an Indigenous child who had their orange shirt taken from them on the first day of attending a residential school.
- Understand why this day, and others like it, are a part of our ongoing collective action to reach reconciliation with Indigenous peoples across our country.
- Explore other resources that can help you gain more insight to the issues being faced by Indigenous peoples in Canada
Finally, we invite you to do your own research and reflection as part of today, and to continue this process every day.