Truth and Reconciliation


Indigenous Land Acknowledgement

With the aim of educating our community and acknowledging the many land treaties that overlay the City of Niagara Falls and Niagara Region, we acknowledge and thank the Indigenous peoples who were stewards of this land for a millennia before us. 

National Day for Truth and Reconciliation

The Government of Canada “responded to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada’s call to action # 80 by creating a day of observation called the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, which seeks to honour First Nations, Inuit and Métis Survivors, their families, and communities, and to ensure that public commemoration of their history and the legacy of residential schools remains a vital component of the reconciliation process.” 

Canada’s federal government enacted legislation on June 3rd, 2021, that established that each year, on September 30th, the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation would be observed. National Truth & Reconciliation Day coincides with Orange Shirt Day, a grassroots movement in recognition of Phyllis Webstad, a residential school survivor.

City of Niagara Falls Events

Flag Raising & Lowering and Orange Bench Unveiling

The City of Niagara Falls will raise the “Every Child Matters Flag” and lower it to half-staff on Saturday, September 30th to mark Orange Shirt Day and the National Day of Truth and Reconciliation.  Members of the Public, Indigenous community members and all are welcome to participate.  The observance will commence at 11:00AM at the Rosberg Flag Poles across the street from City Hall and will close out with a moment of silence.  There will also be a special unveiling of an orange bench that has been donated by the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Advisory Committee. 

Event Flyer

Niagara Falls History Museum Events

Join us on September 28 & 29 for two virtual events.


Date: Thursday, September 28 at 7 p.m.

The Truth and Reconciliation Report was released in 2015.  It was a comprehensive report completed by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and led by Dr. Murray Sinclair.  The report included significant and important recommendations intended to address the devastating legacy of the residential school system on generations of indigenous children, their families, and communities.  This presentation is intended to provide a greater understanding of the report and developments in the years since its release toward Honoring the Truth and Reconciling for the Future. 

About Dr. Williamson:

Dr. Pamela Williamson is a member of the Moose Deer Point First Nation and from the Sturgeon Clan. After a lengthy time working in both health and post-secondary education sectors and from her personal experience, Dr. Williamson is able to offer keen insights into understanding the realities of living experienced by First Nations people. Dr. Williamson is a strong advocate of the Truth and Reconciliation recommendations as a means to increase understanding and positive and productive relationships between indigenous and non-indigenous people of Canada.


Date: Friday, September 29 at 3 p.m.

Reflections on Indigenous Law, Treaties and Nationhood in response to the Universal Declaration of Indigenous Rights, Government Policies and Haudenosaunee Tenacity. The Haudenosaunee are attempting to be the first Indigenous nation to be part of the Olympic family. As the game of lacrosse is being considered for the 2028 Olympic Games in Los Angeles, the Haudenosaunee are seeking recognition of their nationhood on the international stage in order to play a game they invented. Win, lose or draw, it will be a great test about the survivability of Haudenosaunee nationhood.

About Richard Hill:

Richard Hill is a Tuscarora Citizen of the Haudenosaunee, a Confederation of the Seneca, Cayuga, Onondaga, Oneida, Mohawk and Tuscarora Nations. He has been responsible for recovery of wampum belts from museums and historical societies, uncovering the history they carry, and sharing these teachings so that the lessons of history are not forgotten. Hill has worked for the National Museum of the American Indian, the State University of New York at Buffalo, Six Nations Polytechnic and now is the Indigenous Innovations Specialist at Mohawk College, Hamilton, ON.

Empathic Traditions - Niagara's Indigenous Legacy  

The Niagara Region was a place of awe and wonder for the Indigenous peoples who first walked this land. Their ancestors' footsteps arrived approximately 13,000 years ago as the melting glaciers retreated northward, revealing the Great Lakes of Erie and Ontario and the mighty Niagara River while giving genesis to an environment rich with life.

In this exhibition, Empathic Traditions: Niagara's Indigenous Legacy, objects selected from the Indigenous collections of the Niagara Falls History Museum reveal the presence of Indigenous peoples, their art and history in the region, extending back hundreds of generations up to the present day. Vivid imagery of the artifacts combined with interpretive information help us understand what life was like for those who first arrived.

By examining projectile points, stone tools, pottery shards, jewelry, and other ancient creations, as well as historic and contemporary items, we learn about the cultural connections Indigenous peoples developed with nature and their relationships with Europeans. We learn how the necessity of survival required the design of useful tools, how function influenced form, and how form created objects of great beauty. If nature is aesthetically pleasing and inspirational, then Niagara Falls must be considered a muse of epic proportion. From the first human encounter with the mighty cataracts, artful interpretation ensued.

Learn more at

City of Niagara Falls Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Advisory Committee Resources

Visit committee page to learn more.

Truth and Reconciliation Resources

Residential School Recognition

September 30th - Every Child Matters Orange Shirt Day

September 30th is Orange Shirt Day, a time when Canadians across the country will be wearing orange to raise awareness of the tragic legacy of residential schools, and to honour the thousands of survivors.  

Orange Shirt Day was inspired by the story of Phyllis (Jack) Webstad, a residential school survivor. At the age of 6, Phyllis went to the St. Joseph Mission Indian Residential School wearing the bright-orange shirt bought by her grandmother. She said she felt "bright and exciting", just like her shirt. But on the first day of school, her new shirt was forcibly taken from her, along with her dignity.  This story is one of the many examples of harm that was inflicted upon the self-esteem and well-being of children who were forced to attend residential schools. Today, we acknowledge the denial of the rights and the wrongdoings of the past, and the present-day impacts across generations, including the trauma carried by survivors and their families.

Learning about the impacts that it has had on generations of Indigenous families, languages, and cultures, lies at the heart of reconciliation between Indigenous peoples who attended these schools, their families and communities, and all Canadians.

City of Niagara Falls residents are encouraged to come together in a spirit of reconciliation and hope to honour the Indigenous children stolen from their families and forced to attend these residential schools, by wearing the colour orange on September 30.

Learn about this movement, the woman behind it, and her orange shirt story:

Opportunities to Donate

The Legacy of Hope Foundation

This foundation is an Indigenous-led charity that works to educate and raise awareness about the history and ongoing impacts of the residential school system. Part of the LHF's goals are to provide needed resources for schools and to prevent the spread of misinformation. Donate to the Legacy of Hope Foundation.

The Gord Downie and Chanie Wenjack Fund

This fund continues Gord Downie's commitment to improving the lives of First Peoples in Canada. The fund works to build awareness, and education on the true history of Indigenous people in Canada, the history of Residential Schools, and encourages reconciliation through events and programming.  Donate to the Gord Downie and Chanie Wenjack Fund.

The Indian Residential School Survivor Society (IRSSS)

The IRSSS is an organization out of British Columbia that provides essential services to residential school survivors, their families, and those dealing with Intergenerational traumas. Donate to the IRSSS.

Residential Schools Awareness & Resources:

A National Residential School Crisis Line has also been set up to provide support to former students. This 24-Hour Crisis Line can be accessed at: 1-866-925-4419.

2023 Events and Resources

Niagara Parks Truth & Reconciliation Events

Interpretive Panel Commemoration

On Friday morning, September 29 at 1 pm, at the outdoor plaza at the Niagara Parks Power Station, a ceremony will be held to unveil a new interpretive panel that commemorates the historic events from last year which included the meeting of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and residential school survivor Phyllis Webstad whose story inspired the inception of Orange Shirt Day, eventually becoming the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation. In addition to a sunrise ceremony, Niagara Parks hosted TREATY: A Reconciliation Revelry, a public concert event produced and directed by Tim Johnson featuring an ensemble of renowned and award-winning Indigenous and allied musicians. Public commemoration of the history and legacy of residential schools is a vital component of the reconciliation process, as outlined in the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s 94 Calls to Action.

Indigenous Niagara: Heritage and Legacy Tour

Immerse yourself in the rich history and teachings of Indigenous cultures through an exciting new guided tour experience. This tour delves into the significance of treaties and highlights the vital role played by First Nations Allies during the War of 1812. There are tours geared for student groups, general interest groups, conference groups and more – contact [email protected] for more information.

Landscape of Nations: A Cultural & Historic Journey

The Landscape of Nations is a living memorial dedicated to the contributions and sacrifices made by Six Nations and Native Allies on Queenston Heights and equally important, throughout the War of 1812.

Indigenous Organizations in Niagara

Learn about the different Indigenous organizations in Niagara and check out the programs and services they offer. You can also sign up for their newsletters and attend local events.