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On September 30th, we recognize National Day for Truth and Reconciliation and Orange Shirt Day. It is an opportunity to learn about the generational impact of Residential Schools on First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples, survivors and the children who never made it home. 

 

The National Day for Truth and Reconciliation was officially established in 2021, following the release of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada’s 2015 report, that included 94 Calls to Action. Call to action number 80 called upon the federal government to collaborate with Indigenous peoples in creating a statutory holiday dedicated to observing the legacy of Indian Residential Schools and honour survivors and their families.   

 

This day also marks Orange Shirt Day, an Indigenous-led effort to build awareness of the Residential School system and its intergenerational impacts. Each year, Canadians are encouraged to wear an orange shirt, signifying the journey toward healing and reconciliation. This commemorative event was inspired by Phyllis Webstad’s story and her experience as a Residential School survivor in 1973. The orange shirt is a symbolic reminder of a dark period in history and the legacy of Residential Schools.  

 

It is essential that we take this time to reflect and learn from the past. True reconciliation is not possible without education, and we all have an active role to play. This starts through listening to First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples, uplifting their voices, dedicating ourselves to continuous learning and initiating meaningful action as a collective. 

  

The Immigrants Working Centre stands in solidarity with First Nations, Inuit and Métis people on their path to healing and justice. We are deeply grateful for the privilege of working and living on the traditional territories of the Erie, Neutral, Huron-Wendat, Haudenosaunee, and Mississaugas. As an immigrant-serving organization, we understand our responsibility of continuing to educate ourselves and the newcomers we serve about the systemic impacts of colonization and stand by the commitment that Every Child Matters.  

  

We invite you to take an active role in the process of reconciliation. To learn more about Orange Shirt Day, please visit: https://orangeshirtday.org/.  

 

As of 2023, 13 out of the 94 calls to action have been completed. To learn about how the federal government is responding to the 94 calls to action, please visit: https://www.rcaanc-cirnac.gc.ca/eng/1524494530110/1557511412801 

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