September 30, 2021
Today marks the 1st National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, a day that honours the lost children and Survivors of residential schools, their families, and communities. Public commemoration of the tragic and painful history of residential schools is a vital component of the reconciliation process.
Orange Shirt Day, an Indigenous-led grassroots commemorative day that honours the children who survived Indian Residential Schools and remembers those who did not, is also recognized today. Canadians are encouraged to wear orange (a shirt or even a ribbon) to raise awareness of the very tragic legacy of residential schools and to honour the thousands of Survivors. This day relates to the experience of Phyllis Webstad, a Northern Secwpemc (Shuswap) from the Stswecem’c Xgat’tem First Nation. On her first day of school, she arrived dressed in a new orange shirt, which was taken from her. It is now a symbol of the stripping away of culture, freedom and self-esteem experienced by Indigenous children over generations.
Women+Power acknowledges this monumental day in the spirit of reconciliation and the hope for a brighter future for our Indigenous Peoples. We must do more to deepen our understanding. We must come together to pause, lament and reflect – to embrace our shared humanity. We must commit to doing better.
We invite you to take the opportunity to reflect on Canada’s dark past and explore the rich and diverse cultures, voices, experiences and stories of the First Nations, Inuit, and Métis peoples. Whether you want to read, listen, or watch, click this link to start your learning journey today.