Library and Archives Canada highlights National Day for Truth and Reconciliation

Mental health supports available

The residential school system is a topic that can cause trauma invoked by memories of past abuse. Messages around the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation can be an unwelcome reminder to those who have suffered hardships through generations of government policies that were harmful to Indigenous Peoples.

A 24-hour support line at 1-866-925-4419 provides crisis referral services to Survivors and their families and explains how to obtain other health supports from the Government of Canada.

First Nations, Inuit and Métis seeking immediate emotional support can contact the Hope for Wellness Help Line toll-free at 1-855-242-3310, or by online chat at

National Day for Truth and Reconciliation (NDTR) takes place each year on September 30 to raise awareness of the individual, family and community intergenerational impacts of residential schools. Formal public commemoration of their tragic, painful and ongoing impact remains a vital component of the reconciliation process.

Library and Archives Canada’s (LAC) Indigenous Initiatives Division invites you to a commemorative event featuring the documentary Honour to Senator Murray Sinclair by director Alanis Obomsawin. Seating is limited, so please register in advance. We encourage you to wear orange.

To highlight this important day that honours the children who never returned home and survivors of residential schools, as well as their families and communities, the Preservation Centre and Preservation Storage Facility in Gatineau will be illuminated in orange on Saturday, September 30, from sunset to 11 p.m.

In anticipation of NDTR and to build on the efforts toward reconciliation, LAC presents some of its ongoing initiatives and resources available for all Canadians to learn more about Indigenous Peoples and to explore our collective past. Knowing and acknowledging the past and its continuing impacts is the first step toward healing and reconciliation.

  • Guided by the Calls to Action of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada, LAC’s Indigenous Heritage Action Plan sets out 28 concrete actions that LAC will undertake by 2024 to demonstrate recognition of the rights of First Nations, Inuit and the Métis Nation in a way that is meaningful, respectful and transparent.
  • LAC’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission web archive allows access to archived websites of organizations connected with the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.
  • The Indigenous Initiatives Division at LAC was established in 2021 to lead activities identified in the Indigenous Heritage Action Plan. Predominantly staffed by First Nations and Métis people, the Indigenous Initiatives Division delivers internal and external digitization initiatives, as well as internal and external engagement and cultural awareness activities.
  • Listen, Hear Our Voices is a core component of the Indigenous Initiatives Division and funds initiative that supports First Nations, Inuit, and Métis governing entities and non-profit organizations in their efforts digitize language and culture materials in their own collections. The funding also supports communities and organizations to enhance their capacity to undertake digitization work in the long term.
  • We Are Here: Sharing Stories is another core component of the Indigenous Initiatives Division. We Are Here: Sharing Stories is an initiative to digitize and describe hundreds of thousands of Indigenous-related collection items in the holdings at LAC. Over the last year, more than 360,000 images related to First Nations, Inuit and the Métis Nation have been digitized, including a collection of more than 100 rare books in Indigenous languages.
  • Co-Lab is a collaborative tool that allows users to transcribe, tag, translate and describe digitized images and documents from the collections in LAC’s care. The Indigenous Heritage challenges (under Themes) collect contributions from users to help provide better descriptions in the collections at LAC.
  • The e-book Nations to Nations: Indigenous Voices at Library and Archives Canada features 28 essays written by First Nations, Inuit, and Métis staff at LAC, accompanied by over 140 images, offering personal interpretations of collection items such as journals, maps, artwork, photographs, publications and audiovisual recordings.
  • You can also read the blog post “Pidji-ijashig – Anamikàge – Pee-piihtikweek – Tunngasugit – ᑐᙵᓱᒋᑦ – Welcome.” It provides an introduction to the e-book mentioned above and explains the importance of applying Indigenous insights to archival documents.
  • The podcast “Healing Journey: Project Naming at 15” celebrates the project that has supplied a virtual space for First Nations, Inuit and Métis Nation communities to access Canada’s historic photo collections and engage in the identification of people and locations.
  • The Flickr album “Healing Journey: Project Naming at 15” was created to accompany the podcast.

LAC acknowledges that many records related to First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples in the collections lack important contextual information. As outlined in Vision 2030: A strategic plan to 2030, LAC is doing more to place collections in context, making them easier to understand by setting them in a wider historical and cultural landscape. This is done in various ways, including by offering theme-based collections and programs, and by encouraging a variety of uses for the collections. The We Are Here: Sharing Stories and Listen, Hear Our Voices initiatives support this commitment.

Reconciliation will take time, a great deal of effort, and, often, discomfort. It is a journey that requires commitment from everyone in Canada.


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