Canada’s National Day for Truth and Reconciliation (September 30) is a time for reflection, learning and dialogue. This week, we are partnering with the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation (NCTR), Indigenous Theatre at the National Arts Centre (NAC) and Slow Studies Creative to support their programs of activities marking Truth and Reconciliation Week and launch tools that will help Canadians take action towards reconciliation.
Listening and learning online with the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation
The NCTR continues the work started by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada (TRC) and is the home of Survivors’ statements, documents, and other materials collected through the TRC. The NCTR is a place of learning and dialogue where the truths of the residential school experience will be honoured and kept safe for future generations.
To further that mission, the NCTR has partnered with Meta to bring the process of education online. Together, the NCTR and Meta have developed a Messenger experience on Facebook and Instagram that will guide Canadians as they learn about the truths of the residential school system and take action towards reconciliation.
By interacting with the Messenger experience, and content authored by the NCTR, Canadians will discover what they didn’t learn in history class and reflect on the realities that Survivors endured. You can continue your own path towards reconciliation, in both English and French, through Messenger here. On Instagram, go to @nctr_um, choose the “Message” button and type “Get Started” to access the experience.
The NCTR will also host a program of activities to mark Truth and Reconciliation Week, supported by Meta. On September 28, NCTR will host a live youth empowerment event in Ottawa – Gidinawendimin: We Are All Related – where students from across Canada will come together to learn directly from residential school Survivors, in addition to Indigenous music, dance, and cultural presentations.
Closing the week on the National Day of Truth and Reconciliation and Orange Shirt Day (September 30), the NCTR will host a gathering on Parliament Hill in Ottawa – Remembering the Children – to memorialise the children lost to the residential school system and honour Survivors and their families.
These events will be live streamed on Meta’s technologies, which members of the public can watch for free via the NCTR’s Facebook page. Bringing these events to a national audience on Facebook ensures that the flames of the activities in Ottawa illuminate every corner of the country. You can see the NCTR’s full program of activities here.
Amplifying transformative Indigenous voices through digital empowerment
In addition to supporting the NCTR, Meta is also proud to champion the digital empowerment of Indigenous voices with the NAC and Slow Studies Creative.
On September 23, Indigenous Theatre kicked off its 2023-24 season at the NAC in Ottawa, with Papakanje – a performance celebrating Indigenous voices through performance and conversation. The concert is supported by #ReconcileThis – Indigenous Voices Online, a four-year collaborative initiative which aims to uplift Indigenous voices online by activating and sharing stories, languages, cultures and perspectives through provocative digital performances and conversations.
Initiatives like #ReconcileThis and translating the Facebook platform into Inuktitut – a collaboration with the Nunavut Tunngavik that was recently recognized by UNESCO – help underscore the Indigenous reality in Canada, and online.
Supporting the next generation of Indigenous storytellers
From September 26, Downtown Vancouver BIA, Slow Studies Creative and Meta will host the Immersive Perspectives AR Art Walk on Robson Square Plaza in the heart of downtown Vancouver. Using their phones, members of the public will be able step into a world where Indigenous art comes alive through the magic of augmented reality (AR) and Meta Spark technology, honouring the rich heritage of Indigenous people across Canada.
The activation has been led by Josh Conrad – a multi-disciplinary Indigenous artist and founder of Slow Studies Creative, in collaboration with Indigenous creators Ovila Mailhot, Emma Hassencahl-Perley, Mel Beaulieu, Charlene Johnny, Nalakwsis, Amanda Amour-Lynx and Chase Gray – all members of Spark Indigenous. Visitors to Robson Square can interact with the AR filter for free by scanning the QR codes printed around the square until October 6. You can learn more about Meta’s support for the next generation of Indigenous AR storytellers here.
Reconciliation starts with education and Meta is proud to offer its technologies to further that mission during this year’s Truth and Reconciliation Week. We see firsthand how digital empowerment can play a critical role in unlocking forums for expression, storytelling and culture sharing, and are committed to ensuring our technologies are a place where First Nation, Inuit, Métis and non-Indigenous communities can connect to move Canada forward on its journey to reconciliation.
Credit: The banner image for this post, ‘Electric Learning for Truth and Reconciliation’ was designed by Josh Conrad. Josh said: “The piece is intended to represent the unification between digital platforms and traditional storytelling methods and what happens when knowledge is shared. The circle at the image’s middle, alongside the crescents casting outward, together represent the ripple effect created when a drop hits the surface of water; sharing knowledge creates a similar effect. The neon circle and crescent oranges represent Orange Shirt Day – which is marked on September 30 – creating symmetry on every side to convey the reflection we see in the water, much as we do in ourselves when knowledge is shared.”
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