On Orange Shirt Day, The City Commemorates Children Lost to Residential Schools
On September 30 at 12 p.m. The City joins communities across the country recognizing Orange Shirt Day in an outdoor ceremony that will be livestreamed on calgary.ca/live.
Orange Shirt Day encourages everyone to commemorate the residential school experience, to witness and honour the healing journey of the survivors and their families, and to commit to the ongoing process of reconciliation.
It grew out of Phyllis Jack Webstad’s story of having her shiny new orange shirt taken away by school officials on her first day of school at St. Joseph's Mission Residential School as part of the assimilation process. It has become an opportunity to keep the discussion on all aspects of residential schools happening all year round and annually.
This year, September 30 was also made a federal statutory holiday, the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation. The City will consider September 30 a statutory holiday for all City employees going forward.
The City will mark the day with an Orange Shirt Day ceremony on the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation at Fort Calgary. Fort Calgary is located where the Bow River meets the Elbow River. The ground that Fort Calgary is located on has been called Mohkinsstsis by the Blackfoot; Wîchîspa by the Nakoda; Guts’ists’i by Tsuut’ina; and Otoskwunee by the Metis. This place was also the birthplace of Calgary but has been referred to by those names for much, much longer than Calgary has been in existence.
The ceremony will include remarks from Mayor Nenshi, a Siksika Elder, an Indigenous Canadian Army Veteran, leaders from The City, experts on generational trauma, and members of The City’s Indigenous Relations Office. Drumming and dancing performances will close the event.
“On Orange Shirt Day, it is important we remember not only the children who were taken from our community, but also the intergenerational impacts that residential schools have on families today,” said Terry Poucette, Team Lead for the Indigenous Relations Office. “I encourage everyone today to think about their own commitments to furthering truth and reconciliation in their lives.”
You are invited to join online Indigenous Elders, community leaders, and all Calgarians committed to the spirit of reconciliation and hope for generations of children at Calgary.ca/live for this important event.
The Orange Shirt Day ceremony is one of the ways The City of Calgary is recognizing the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation. Orange ribbon decals will be applied to all City vehicles to show solidarity with our Indigenous neighbours, friends, co-workers and family. For more information on Orange Shirt Day and other ways to observe the National day for Truth and Reconciliation visit Calgary.ca/orangeshirtday.