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Watch Indigenous films with the National Film Board & Arts Commons! | Photo: courtesy of Arts Commons

National Day for Truth and Reconciliation

Meaning ways to spend the day

Haider Ali

  • Location Various Venues 
  • Price Prices Vary

Saturday, September 30th marks the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation. This annual federal holiday was proclaimed by the Government of Canada to honour the children who never returned home and the survivors of residential schools, as well as their families and communities. It is one of many opportunities to reflect on our journey and understanding of Truth and Reconciliation.

The day coincides with Orange Shirt Day, an Indigenous-led grassroots initiative intended to raise awareness of the individual, family and community inter-generational impacts of residential schools, and to promote the concept of “Every Child Matters.”

There are several events across Calgary to commemorate the day — our roundup features everything from the annual Orange Shirt Day Walk to film screenings to panel discussions!

Honouring the Children

Until September 30, 2023
Sparrow Artspace (36 4th St. NE)
Exhibition is free to explore, workshop prices vary

The Colouring It Forward Reconciliation Society (CIFRS) is partnering with Sparrow Artspace to take reconciliation into ACTION with an exhibition, workshops, community art project, and gift shop at leading up to the fifth annual Pokaiks — The Children Orange Shirt Day Walk.

Truth and Reconciliation Art Installation

Until September 30, 2023
Southcentre Mall (100 Anderson Road SE)
Free to explore

Southcentre Mall and Colouring It Forward Reconciliation Society present a new art installation featuring a variety of works from local Indigenous artists. This commemorative installation represents personal experiences and interpretations of Indigenous culture and the ongoing process of reconciliation.


Until September 30, 2023
The GRAND (608 1st St. SW)
Pay What You Can ($20 – $69.76)

Making Treaty 7 returns with O’kosi, a story that follows several individuals across the expanse of time and explores their relationship with Treaty 7 and with each other. Celebrated director Michelle Thrush brings a talented cast of Blackfoot actors to create this visually spectacular production filled with music and poetry.

Cadmus Delorme Presentation

September 29, 2022, 12:30 – 1:30pm
Online or in-person at Eckhardt-Gramatté Hall, Rozsa Centre, UCalgary (206 University Court NW)
Free to attend, registration required

Cadmus Delorme, a Cree and Saulteaux and former chief of Cowessess First Nation, shares his presentation What We Inherited and Better Understanding Our Role in Truth and Reconciliation Calls to Action. Hosted by Dr. Shawna Cunningham, EdD, director of ii’ taa’poh’to’p, UCalgary’s Indigenous Strategy, with special remarks from guests.

Beans Film Screening

September 29, 2023, 6:30 – 9pm
Online or in-person at Calgary Central Library (800 3rd St. SE)
Free to attend, registration required

Check out a free viewing of the film Beans, directed by Tracey Deer. Following the film, there will be discussion with director Tracey Deer, Kelli-Morning Bull, the Indigenous Services Design Lead at Calgary Public Library, and Autumn Eaglespeaker.

Orange Shirt Day at Fort Calgary

September 30, 2023, 10am – 5pm
Fort Calgary (750 9th Ave. SE)
Free to attend

Fort Calgary is offering a variety of free programming for National Day for Truth and Reconciliation and Orange Shirt Day, including: free museum admission, walking tours, family-friendly crafts and an after-hours screening of the film Bones of Crows.

Indigenous Films

September 30, 2023, 10:30am, 1:30pm
Jack Singer Concert Hall, Arts Commons (225 8th Ave. SE)
Free to attend, registration required

In collaboration with the National Film Board of Canada, Arts Commons is screening three films about Indigenous life, history and reconciliation. In the morning, watch Honour to Senator Murray Sinclair and Keepers of the Fire. And in the afternoon, see Inconvenient Indian followed by a short discussion.

Pokaiks — The Children Commemorative Walk & Gathering

September 30, 2023, 11am – 4pm
Shaw Millennium Park (1220 9th Ave. SW)
Free to participate/attend

Be a part of a meaningful Orange Shirt Day event that is a tribute to survivors of the Residential School System and Sixties Scoop. The walk is followed by performances, remarks, artisan and community booths, food and beverage offerings and other activities.

Indigenous Placemaking

September 30, 2023, 12noon – 5pm
Eight Calgary Public Library locations
Free to explore

Join Calgary Public Library to explore Indigenous Placemaking installations by artists connected to Treaty 7 at eight Library locations: Central, Crowfoot, Forest Lawn, Saddletowne, Seton, Shawnessy, Signal Hill and Village Square.

Indigenous Makers Market

September 30, 2023, 12noon – 6:30pm
Jack Singer Concert Hall Lobby, Arts Commons (225 8th Ave. SE)
Free to explore

Arts Commons invites you to the Indigenous Makers Market, curated by Four Winds YYC featuring the creative work of Indigenous artists and artisans from around Treaty 7 and beyond, as well as live performances. Check out food, beadwork, clothing and fine art!

Speak Up! Panel with Fawn Wood, Eekwol, and Shane Ghostkeeper, hosted by David McLeod

September 30, 2023, 1pm
Studio Bell, home of the National Music Centre (850 4th St SE)
Free to attend

Studio Bell will be open with free admission for National Day for Truth and Reconciliation and they’ll present a discussion on the power of music for reconciliation, hosted by David McLeod, curator of the National Music Centre’s Speak Up! exhibition that recognizes trailblazing Indigenous musicians.

Reconnection, Reconciliation and Resilience

September 30, 2022, 1 – 4pm
Grace Presbyterian Church (1009 15th Ave. SW)
Free to attend

This event is an opportunity to discuss the effects of residential schools and their legacy and is open to the public. It will include a ceremony with Elder presence and teachings, and a drumming performance from The Stardale Girls Drumming Group.

Truth and Reconciliation Mini Pow Wow

September 30, 2023, 1 – 5:30pm
Bob Bahan Aquatic & Fitness Centre (4812 14th Ave. SE)
Free to attend

Everyone is welcome at this Indigenous grassroots resident-led community initiative. The gathering has vendors showcasing Indigenous arts and crafts, a pow-wow, food trucks, kids’ activities and more!

Elder Story Project

September 30, 2023, 7:30pm
Jack Singer Concert Hall, Arts Commons (225 8th Ave. SE)
Free to attend, registration required

The public is invited into an intimate traditional ceremony where Elders share deeply personal experiences that touch on the Residential Schools and the Elders’ personal healing journeys. The Elders Story Project is a sharing circle where the public can observe, listen and learn in a safe space.

The Witness Blanket

Simmons-Harvie Community Living Room, Calgary Central Library (4th floor, 800 3rd St. SW)
Free to explore

Calgary Public Library is hosting The Witness Blanket, a large-scale art installation and a symbol of resilience and Reconciliation created by master carver Carey Newman or Hayalthkin’geme (Ha-yalth-kingeme). The piece is on loan from the Canadian Museum for Human Rights.

Have an event that’s not listed? Email us at events@calgaryartsdevelopment.com or fill out this form.