Impact Stories

Reflections on Truth and Reconciliation

Honouring the victims, survivors, families, and communities affected by the residential school system in Canada. National Truth and Reconciliation Day

On the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, United Way British Columbia joins communities across Canada in honouring the survivors, families, and communities who suffered from the effects of the residential school system. We also take this time to join in mourning the children who were stolen and did not come home as well as recognizing the intergenerational effect it had on their families.

Reconciliation is about understanding the history of systemic racism in our country and acknowledging the atrocities committed in residential schools which have created intergenerational trauma for survivors and their families. Today is a day for listening to and making space for the experiences of residential school survivors and their grief.

United Way British Columbia is dedicated to supporting Reconciliation for Indigenous Peoples. We are working year-round to grow our relationships with Indigenous communities and create more equitable access with lower barriers to grants. This year, we will launch our Truth and Reconciliation Fund which will see grants approved by BC Elders and Chiefs for Indigenous communities. This is just the first step in the development of a Truth and Reconciliation initiative at United Way BC.

What Truth & Reconciliation means to the heart of United Way BC – a reflection from Michael McKnight, President & CEO

September 30th, 2022 marks the second National Day for Truth and Reconciliation for our nation.

This is a day for us to listen to and reflect on the stories and teachings of Indigenous communities as we continue to acknowledge our tragic and painful history of systemic racism that continues to impact Indigenous peoples today. Residential schools, the 60’s Scoop, attempted genocide, economic suppression, intergenerational trauma, and so much more must be openly recognized if we are to earnestly contribute to the truth and reconciliation process, both as individuals and as United Way British Columbia.

As an organization that seeks to make a deep local impact, we are committed to continuing to discover the role we should play in Indigenous reconciliation, while acknowledging our own shortcomings and failures as we learn. We acknowledge our Indigenous staff, volunteers, donors, and partners as we depend on their grace in our effort to unlearn colonialism. We thank you for your underserved patience, and hope that we can hold space for you on your healing journey, even in our shortcomings.

We view truth and reconciliation as an opportunity to honour Indigenous Peoples across this land and elevate our commitment to them.

This National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, we encourage our staff, neighbours, friends and partners to set aside time to participate in the spaces made available for this important reflection and learning in their own community; to talk to their loved ones about why this day is set aside; and to carry their heart for truth and reconciliation into all they do.

*United Way British Columbia acknowledges the homelands of the Indigenous Peoples of this place we now call British Columbia and honours the many territorial keepers of the Lands on which we work.

From the darkness to the light – a personal reflection from Ryan Denault, Community Engagement Specialist

Ryan Deneault is a Skeetchestn Band Member and a fourth-generation settler in the Interior of British Columbia.

Raised in Kamloops, Ryan is a Community Engagement Specialist for United Way BC, focussing on emergent need in Lytton, Merritt and 15 Indigenous communities in between.

In this video, Ryan shares his personal reflections on Truth and Reconciliation, which are deeply connected to his familial roots and his personal journey of connecting to his own Indigenous identity. We are immensely grateful to Ryan for his openness, vulnerability, and open-hearted reflection in sharing his family and personal story.

Resources and Information on Truth and Reconciliation:

Resources for Children

Support services for residential school survivors in British Columbia:

  • The KUU-US Crisis Line Society provides a 24-hour, provincewide Indigenous crisis line for Indigenous peoples in B.C. Adults, call 250 723-4050. Children and youth, call 250 723-2040. Toll-free: 1 800 588-8717
  • First Nations and Inuit Hope for Wellness Help Line for Indigenous people across Canada toll-free 1 855 242-3310 or chat online:
  • The Métis Crisis Line for Métis people in B.C., available 24 hours a day at 1 833 MétisBC: 1 833 638-4722
  • Tsow Tun Le Lum for Indigenous peoples in B.C., phone: 1 888 403-3123
  • Indian Residential School Survivors Society, phone: 1 800 721-0066 or 604 985-4464,
  • 24-Hour National Crisis Line for residential school survivors and others affected: 1 866 925-4419