Lest We Forget – And An Opportunity To Learn
September 30, 2022
September 30 is the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation.
It’s a day where we honour the Indigenous children who never returned home and the Survivors of residential schools, as well as their family and communities. This is the second year that it’s being officially recognized since the federal government introduced it into legislation in 2021 to ensure that public commemoration of the history and legacy of residential schools remains a vital component of the reconciliation process following the Truth and Reconciliation Inquiry. For employees of the federal government and federal Crown corporations, it’s also a statutory holiday.
It’s also Orange Shirt Day, a day when we wear “Every Child Matters” orange shirts. This was initiated by Phyliss Webstad, a residential school survivor, who carefully picked out an orange shirt to wear to the school. However, once there, it was taken away from her and never seen again. An orange shirt recognizes the harm the residential school system did to children’s sense of self-esteem and well being, and affirms that everyone around us matters.
When we look around the GTA, around Ontario, around the country, we often don’t see or maybe don’t care to see obvious impacts of the residential school system. But it is there. It continues to impact those who attended the residential schools as well as the generations that followed the survivors and those who didn’t return home. Be that disappearing languages, addictions, abuse, or differential treatment by governments or police forces.
For both days, it’s our opportunity to learn and reflect upon the history of Indigenous, Inuit and Metis people. For our firm, today we wear our orange shirts and attend a guided tour of Port Credit to better understand the Mississaugas of the Credit First Nation, to learn and understand the impact of colonialism and residential schools on them.