On September 30th, we commemorate both the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, as well as the Orange Shirt Day.
The National Day for Truth and Reconciliation is observed at the end of September because this is the time of year when Indigenous children would be removed from their families and communities to be brought to these Indian Residential Schools. The day honours the children who never returned home and the Survivors of residential schools, as well as their families and communities. Public commemoration of the tragic and painful history and its ongoing impacts of the Indian residential schools is a vital component of the reconciliation process.
The Orange Shirt Day is intended to raise awareness of the individual, family and community intergenerational impacts of residential schools, and to never forget that “Every Child Matters”. The orange shirt is a symbol of the stripping away of culture, freedom and self-esteem experienced by Indigenous children over generations.
As a school board, we believe in respecting the rights, cultural identities, and common beliefs of every child to promote their languages, their values, and their traditions. We all have the responsibility to continue to engage in reconciliation. Reconciliation is not simply an event or a date on a calendar; it is a journey, and everyone's journey will be different. Reconciliation is based on the idea of restoring friendship and harmony - resolving differences, accepting the past, and working together to build a better future.
Let’s participate in honouring the spirit of this day by wearing an orange shirt, attend one of the events across the country celebrating Indigenous resilience, expand your knowledge on residential schools by reading literature written by Indigenous authors. We all have a role to play to ensure the country where we live is founded on truth and inclusivity, and where Every Child Matters.