To recognize and commemorate the tragic history and ongoing legacy of residential schools, Thursday, September 30 has been declared the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation by the Government of Canada.
September 30 coincides with Orange Shirt Day, which began in 2013 to honour Indigenous children forced to leave their families to attend residential schools. Orange Shirt Day recalls the experience of residential school Survivor Phyllis Webstad, a member of the Stswecem’c Xgat’tem First Nation, who at six was stripped of her shiny new orange shirt on her first day attending the St. Joseph Mission Residential School near Williams Lake, BC.
On Thursday, September 30, we invite all conference attendees to wear an orange shirt to reflect on the history and ongoing legacy of the Indian residential school system, to remember those who lost their lives and to commemorate survivors. Orange Shirt Day is a time for us all to come together in the spirit of truth and reconciliation and honour the experiences of Indigenous peoples and just as importantly, their continuing strength and resilience.