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Orange Shirt Day is a legacy of the St. Joseph Mission (SJM) Residential School (1891-1981) Commemoration Project and Reunion events that took place in Williams Lake, BC, Canada, in May 2013. This project was the vision of Esketemc (Alkali Lake) Chief Fred Robbins, who is a former student himself. It brought together former students and their families from the Secwepemc, Tsilhqot’in, Southern Dakelh and St’at’imc Nations along with the Cariboo Regional District, the Mayors and municipalities, School Districts and civic organizations in the Cariboo Region.
Orange Shirt Day is a legacy of this project. As spokesperson for the Reunion group leading up to the events, former student Phyllis (Jack) Webstad told her story of her first day at residential school when her shiny new orange shirt, bought by her grandmother, was taken from her as a six-year old girl.
In this feature film, the profound impact of the Canadian government’s residential school system is conveyed through the eyes of two children who were forced to face hardships beyond their years. As young children, Lyna and Glen were taken from their homes and placed in church-run boarding schools, where they suffered years of physical, sexual and emotional abuse, the effects of which persist in their adult lives. We Were Children gives voice to a national tragedy and demonstrates the incredible resilience of the human spirit.
September 30th has officially been declared the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation by the federal government. The Government of Canada is committed to reconciliation and ensuring that the tragic history and ongoing legacy of residential schools is never forgotten. This day provides an opportunity for Canadians to recognize and commemorate the legacy of residential schools. Individuals may choose to observe this day in quiet reflection or participate in a community event.
The National Day of Truth and Reconciliation responds to Call to Action 80 from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada: Calls to Action, which reads:
80. We call upon the federal government, in collaboration with Aboriginal peoples, to establish, as a statutory holiday, a National Day for Truth and Reconciliation to honour Survivors, their families, and communities, and ensure that public commemoration of the history and legacy of residential schools remains a vital component of the reconciliation process.
Bill C-5 seeks to amend three pieces of existing legislation to create the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation as a federal statutory holiday on September 30 each year, as a direct response to Call to Action 80 of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.
Legacy of Hope Foundation - A national Indigenous charitable organization with the mandate to educate and create awareness and understanding about the Residential School System. This includes the intergenerational impacts such as the removal of generations of Indigenous children from their families, including the Sixties Scoop, the post-traumatic stress disorders that many First Nations, Inuit, and Metis continue to experience, all while trying to address racism, foster empathy and understanding and inspire action to improve the situation of Indigenous Peoples today. The LHF supports the ongoing healing process of Residential School Survivors, and their families and seeks their input on projects that honour them.
SPEAKING MY TRUTH: Reflections on Reconciliation & Residential School (ebook) is a collection of stories that looks at the history of Residential School and possibilities for reconciliation from the perspective First Nation, Inuit, and Metis peoples. Published by the Aboriginal Healing Foundation.
Sisters In Spirit recognizes the more than 1,200 missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls (MMIWG) in Canada.
October 4th is a day marked to honour the lives of missing and murdered Indigenous women, girls and gender diverse people, to support grieving families, and to create opportunities for healing. The violence experienced by Indigenous women, girls and gender diverse people in Canada is a national tragedy.
Vigils are held across the country in memory and to honour the lives lost.
Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women - JustFacts
In 2010, the Native Women’s Association of Canada (NWAC) released a report called What Their Stories Tell Us. The report resulted from five years of research by the Sisters in Spirit Initiative. It revealed as many as 582 known cases of Aboriginal women and girls who have gone missing or been murdered in Canada. NWAC wanted to create a visual representation of these women and girls so they would not be forgotten. The Faceless Doll Project came out of research conducted by the Ontario Native Women’s Association (ONWA).
Mandate of the National Inquiry: "We will find the truth by gathering many stories from many people.These truths will weave together to show us what violence really looks like for Indigenous women and girls in Canada."
Acclaimed Métis filmmaker Christine Welsh brings us a compelling documentary that puts a human face on a national tragedy – the epidemic of missing or murdered Indigenous women in Canada. The film takes a journey into the heart of Indigenous women's experience, from Vancouver's skid row, down the Highway of Tears in northern BC, and on to Saskatoon, where the murders and disappearances of these women remain unsolved.
On November 8th, we will come together to mark National Indigenous Veterans' Day, honouring the important contributions of Indigenous Peoples in service to Canada.
As we reflect, we remember those who lost their lives, and those whose lives were forever changed. We hold their loved ones, families and communities in our hearts.
The First Nations, Inuit and Métis of Canada have a long and proud tradition of military service to our country.
Lest we forget!