NORTH GRENVILLE, ON – Mayor Nancy Peckford issued the following statement on behalf of Council for Orange Shirt Day:
September 30th has been declared annual Orange Shirt Day, in recognition of the harm that the residential school system imposed upon Indigenous children’s sense of identity, self-esteem and well-being. It highlights the multi-generational trauma that survivors and their families experienced, and serves as an opportunity to underscore that all children matter, indigenous and non-indigenous.
Today is an important reminder of Canada’s tragic legacy of residential schools, and provides an opportunity to create meaningful conversation about the impacts of the residential schools on indigenous communities, and our country. It is an opportunity for First Nations, local governments, schools and communities to come together in the spirit of reconciliation and hope for the generations of children to come.
Residential school survivor Phyllis Webstad was a catalyst for the day when she shared the tale of having her new orange shirt taken from her on the first day at the St. Joseph Mission Residential School in British Columbia. In 1973, she was just six at the time, and the shirt had been a treasured gift from her grandmother.
Sept 30 is symbolic as it was the time of year in which Indigenous children were taken from their homes to residential schools.
Orange Shirt Day is an opportunity for our community to openly recognize the injustices that happened in residential schools, how it has affected so many indigenous families and communities across generations, and why healing and reconciliation are so important to the future of our country.
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Watch Mayor Peckford’s video on Orange Shirt Day here: https://youtu.be/JmSoirkq-Qc
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