Reconciliation and Me

Land Acknowledgement

We respectfully acknowledge that Huntsville is on the traditional territories of the Anishinabek Nation, specifically the Ojibway (Chippewas), Odawa and Potawatomi peoples, under the Robinson-Huron Treaty of 1850 and the Williams Treaties of 1923.

Together, we honour and thank Indigenous peoples – all First Nations, Métis and Inuit – for their cultures, their languages, their wise teachings and ways of being and stewardship and protection of the lands and waters - and life - that have shaped this place since time began.

Together we will acknowledge, learn, inform and educate about Truth and Reconciliation in support of our commitment to wellness for all and future generations.

Residential Schools

Learn about the history of the Residential School System and the impacts on Indigenous Peoples

Residential schools were boarding schools for Indigenous (First Nations, Inuit and Métis) children and youth, financed by the federal government but staffed and run by several Christian religious institutions. Children were separated from their families and communities, sometimes by force, and lived in and attended classes at the schools for most of the year. Often, the residential schools were located far from the students’ home communities. The schools were in existence for well over 100 years, and successive generations of children and families from the same communities endured this experience.

Impacts of this were severe. History was hidden. Though it will take time and commitment to heal the relationship between Indigenous Peoples and Canada, the reconciliation process has begun.

View the Education Toolkit on Residential Schools by the Assembly of First Nations

Truth and Reconciliation Week 2023 - Honouring Survivors

September 25 – 30, 2023

The National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation (NCTR) educates Canadians on the profound injustices inflicted on First Nations, Inuit and the Métis Nation by the forced removal of children to attend residential schools. The NCTR Archives and Collections is the foundation for ongoing learning and research. Here, Survivors, their families, educators, researchers, and the public can examine the residential school system more deeply with the view of fostering reconciliation and healing.

In memory and legacy of the residential school system, the library will make accessible Indigenous content during Truth and Reconciliation Week. The community will have access to watch educational content created by the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation in the link below:

NCTR YouTube Page

About Truth and Reconciliation Week

Truth and Reconciliation Week is a 5-day national event that will continue the conversations from Every Child Matters. Important conversations including the truths of the Indigenous treaties, First Nation, Métis and Inuit land claims, and the residential schools' system. The library will host this online event that will provide exclusive video content and activities — all supported by artistic and cultural performances by First Nations, Métis, and Inuit artists.

Created by Indigenous storytellers, these videos will show traditional ceremonies and artistic performances, alongside conversations with Elders and knowledge keepers, Survivors, and children of Survivors of residential schools. There will also be a moving tribute to the Missing Children that never returned home from the residential schools.

Anishinabek Nation

Who Are the Anishinabek? by Isaac Murdoch

Visit the Anishnabek Nation's website for more educational resources

Orange Shirt Day

orange shirt with text "orange shirt day"

What is Orange Shirt Day?

September 30, Orange Shirt Day or National Day for Truth and Reconciliation is a day to commemorate the residential school experience, to witness and honour the healing journey of the survivors and their families, and to commit to the ongoing process of reconciliation. The Huntsville Public Library and The Town of Huntsville are committed to keeping the reconciliation process alive.

Why It Matters

Why is this issue important to all Canadians?

Why should it matter to those who didn’t attend residential school?

  • IT MATTERS because it continues to affect First Nations, Inuit and Métis families–people from vibrant cultures who are vital contributors to Canadian society.
  • IT MATTERS because it happened here, in a country we call our own–a land considered to be a free and democratic land where every person has human rights.
  • IT MATTERS because Indigenous communities suffer levels of poverty, illness, and illiteracy comparable to those in developing nations–conditions that are being perpetuated through inaction.
  • IT MATTERS because we share this land. We may not be responsible for what happened in the past, but we all benefit from what First Nations, Inuit, and Metis have had to relinquish.
  • IT MATTERS because we are responsible for our actions today.

The Story Behind Orange Shirt Day

“I went to the Mission for one year. I had just turned 6 years old. We never had very much money, and there was no welfare, but somehow my granny managed to buy me a new outfit to go to the Mission School in. I remember going to Robinson’s store and picking out a shiny orange shirt. It had eyelets and lace, and I felt so pretty in that shirt and excited to be going to school! Of course, when I got to the Mission, they stripped me, and took away my clothes, including the orange shirt. I never saw it again, except on other kids. I didn’t understand why they wouldn’t give it back to me, it was mine! Since then the colour orange has always reminded me of that and how my feelings didn’t matter, how no one cared and how I felt like I was worth nothing. I finally get it, that the feeling of worthlessness and insignificance, ingrained in me from my first day at the mission, affected the way I lived my life for many years...I want my orange shirt back!”

Phyllis (Jack) Webstad, Dog Creek, BC


Recommended Resources

Map of Residential Schools in Canada

Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada: Calls to Action

They Came for the Children, Canada, Aboriginal Peoples and Residential Schools by, The Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada

The National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation

From our Collection: What to Read

Adult Fiction

Adult Non-Fiction

Children's Board Books

Children's Fiction

Children's Non-Fiction

Children's Picture Books

Graphic Novels

Young Adult Fiction

Young Adult Non-Fiction

From our Collection: What to Watch

Non-Fiction DVDs

Indian Residential Schools Crisis Line

Their mandate is to support residential school survivors and their families but their policy is not to turn anyone away. 1-866-925-4419

Kids Help Phone

An anonymous and confidential phone and on-line professional counselling service for youth. 1-800-668-6868


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Tuesday 10 AM - 6 PM
Wednesday 10 AM - 6 PM
Thursday 10 AM - 6 PM
Friday 10 AM - 6 PM
Saturday 10 AM - 4 PM


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