Truth Telling

Every Child Matters: In Commemoration of Orange Shirt Day and the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation

As part of the It Starts With Us series, we hosted an event to commemorate Orange Shirt Day and the inaugural National Day for Truth and Reconciliation.

The session follows on the commitments made by the Faculty of Medicine response to the Truth and Reconciliation Committee’s Calls to Action on June 25th, 2021. The Faculty acknowledged the need to confront the cultural and personal harms imposed by colonialism and formally apologized to all those affected for the role the UBC Faculty of Medicine has played in causing and perpetuating these systems and the resulting and persistent damages.

Read more about the event here

Orange Shirt Day and the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation

In 2021, the Government of Canada officially designated September 30th as the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation in an effort to encourage all Canadians to recognize and commemorate the legacy of Indian Residential Schools.

Since 2013, September 30th has been designated as Orange Shirt Day in response to Phyllis (Jack) Webstad’s account of her arrival at the St. Joseph Mission Indian Residential School in Williams Lake: “In 1973, on her first day at St. Joseph’s Residential School in Williams Lake, BC, Phyllis’s shiny new orange shirt, given to her by her grandmother to mark the beginning of her education was stripped from her, never to be seen again. 40 years later, on September 30th, 2013, Phyllis spoke publicly for the first time about her experience that day and in the years that followed as her enthusiasm for beginning school was systematically eroded, and thus began the Orange Shirt Day movement.”

The day honors and acknowledges the individual and collective stories of all survivors of the Indian residential school experience in Canada.

Learn about Orange Shirt Day here

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“The time to make things happen is now. The time to seek out our individual and shared power is now.”

Read the Message from the Indigenous Initiatives Advisor, Derek Thompson – Thlaapkiituup, here

Discover more about REDI’s Indigenous Initiatives here