This coming September 30th will be the first-ever National Day for Truth and Reconciliation. However, just because it’s no longer called Orange Shirt Day doesn’t mean you’re not still encouraged to wear one. If you’re a last-minute shopper, here are three Indigenous-owned businesses that we love, and you can support in anticipation of September 30th.
1) Strong Nations
Strong Nations is an Indigenous-owned online Book and Gift Store, as well as a Publishing house, that strives to create and deliver authentic books, gifts, and other resources that are all made in Canada. Strong Nations has teamed up with Algonquin artist Don Bonner in order to create a simple yet elegant design that spreads the message that “Every Child Matters” loud and clear. While they are running out of some sizes, you can browse Strong Nations’ selection of orange shirts by clicking here.
2) Shayne Hommy
Shayne Hommy is a Grade 11 First Nations Cree student from Dawson Creek, British Columbia. In partnership with Kit and Kaboodle, Shayne has created a design that is meant to symbolize the unity, resilience, and strength of all Indigenous peoples. $5 from each sale of Shayne’s shirts will go to the Orange Shirt Society, the organization that helped kickstart Orange Shirt Day in 2013, and is still working to help ensure that the stories of Residential School survivors are told so that they are not forgotten. To check out Shayne’s shirt, click here. To look more into the Orange Shirt Society and what they are doing to enact change, click here.
3) Birch Bark Coffee Company
All of that orange shirt shopping can wear you out, so if you need a pick-me-up, check out Birch Bark Coffee. While they might not be selling orange shirts, they are selling a special coffee blend called “Reconciliation”. This special blend will only be sold once a year during the month of September, and much like an orange shirt, this coffee is meant to raise awareness for the legacy of the Residential School system. This blend is made in partnership with Genumark Canada, Rightsleeve, and the Gord Downie & Chanie Wenjack Fund. Set proceeds will go to the fund in order to help with the education and awareness of Residential Schools, as well as the importance of Truth and Reconciliation. While you can only buy this blend by the case, it makes it the perfect coffee to share with friends and loved ones. Click here to check out their special “Reconciliation” blend, or any of their other great products.
ELMNT-FM will be recognizing the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation on September 30th with specialized programming, as well as a series of Public Service Announcements concerning the 94 Calls To Action published by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada.
A National Indian Residential School Crisis Line is available to provide support for former residential school students. To speak to someone, call 1-866-925-4419.
Image Credits: Strong Nations, Orange Shirt Society, Birch Bark Coffee Company