September 30th is the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation
The College of Family Physicians of Canada and its Indigenous Health Committee acknowledge the very first National Day for Truth and Reconciliation on September 30th, which is also Orange Shirt Day.
The past several months have been difficult, with the discovery of thousands of unmarked graves at former residential school sites and with those numbers expected to rise. While this revelation was shocking and heartbreaking for so many Canadians, Indigenous peoples have known about and lived with this painful reality for generations.
This day is also a reminder for all family physicians and family medicine learners to address anti-Indigenous racism, which persists today. We must continue to support Indigenous patients and their families, of whom the large majority have been touched by the residential school experience and have faced systemic racism.
The CFPC Indigenous Health Committee has engaged in important work in this area, and its advocacy and actions are ongoing. Please read the CanMEDS–Family Medicine Indigenous Health Supplement for information that will help family physicians and family medicine learners provide high-quality, culturally safe care to Indigenous populations. A fact sheet, Health and Health Care Implications of Systemic Racism on Indigenous Peoples in Canada, is also available.
As we pause on September 30th to listen to, learn from, and stand with Indigenous peoples, we encourage you to join in and:
- Learn about the tragic legacy of residential schools (see this list of resources on the Gord Downie and Chanie Wenjack Fund website)
- Wear an orange shirt or an orange ribbon to show your support (preferably purchased from an Indigenous business or company, such as the Orange Shirt Society or an approved retailer
- Post one of the graphics below in your workplace to show your support and start much-needed conversations with your peers, staff, families, and friends
We recognize that this day can be difficult for Indigenous peoples, including Indigenous physicians, medical trainees, and other health professionals and staff. If you need support, please call the Indian Residential Schools Crisis Line at 1-866-925-4419.