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Sept. 30 set as National Day for Truth and Reconciliation

Thursday, 10 June 2021. Posted in Shootin' the Breeze

Sept. 30 set as National Day for Truth and Reconciliation

Sept. 30 set as National Day for Truth and Reconciliation
By Sean Oliver
Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

A bill creating a national holiday to commemorate the tragic history and lasting effects of Canada’s residential school system, and to honour Indigenous survivors and their families and communities, received royal assent June 3 after passing unanimously in the Senate.

The National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, a new statutory holiday for employees in federally regulated workplaces, will be observed Sept. 30.

This date coincides with Orange Shirt Day, which began in 2013 and involves wearing orange shirts to honour Indigenous children forced to leave their families to attend residential schools.

The orange shirt came to symbolize the experiences and abuse suffered by children at residential schools after Phyllis Webstad, a member of the Stswecem’c Xgat’tem First Nation, shared her story of her first day going to school on the Dog Creek reserve in British Columbia.

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Phyllis’s grandmother had given her a new orange shirt with laces to wear on her first day; when she arrived at the school, all of Phyllis’s clothes were taken and never returned.

“The colour orange has always reminded me of that and how my feelings didn’t matter, how no one cared and how I felt like I was worth nothing,” Phyllis writes on the Orange Shirt Day website. “All of us little children were crying and no one cared.”

Wearing an orange shirt on Sept. 30 has become a way for Canadians to show that Every Child Matters, the slogan adopted by the Orange Shirt Day organization.

Establishing a national holiday was one of the 94 recommendations from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. It is anticipated the holiday will be accompanied by educational campaigns similar to Remembrance Day.

More information on the TRC is available at www.trc.ca and details on Orange Shirt Day, including where to buy an Every Child Matters shirt, can be found at www.orangeshirtday.org.

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