September 30 – Orange Shirt Day: Every Child Matters
The annual Orange Shirt Day on September 30th opens the door to global conversation on all aspects of Residential Schools. It is an opportunity to create meaningful discussion about the effects of Residential Schools and the legacy they have left behind. A discussion all Canadians can tune into and create bridges with each other for reconciliation. A day for survivors to be reaffirmed that they matter, and so do those that have been affected. Every Child Matters, even if they are an adult, from now on.
The date was chosen because it is the time of year in which children were taken from their homes to residential schools, and because it is an opportunity to set the stage for anti-racism and anti-bullying policies for the coming school year. It is an opportunity for First Nations, local governments, schools and communities to come together in the spirit of reconciliation and hope for generations of children to come.
It all started right here in the Cariboo, and as a result, School District No. 27 was chosen by the First Nations Education Steering Committee (FNESC) to pilot curriculum changes for all Grade 5 and Grade 10 students reflecting the residential school experience, which have now been implemented province-wide.
Resolutions have been passed in support of Orange Shirt Day by local governments, school districts, and First Nations in the Cariboo and beyond. The AFN Chiefs-in-Council passed a resolution declaring Orange Shirt Day “a first step in reconciliation”, and pledging to bring the message home as well as to the government of Canada and the churches responsible, several provincial governments have proclaimed Orange Shirt Day, and in March of 2019, the Government of Canada passed a bill designating September 30th National Truth and Reconciliation Day. Unfortunately, that bill died in the Senate.
On this day of September 30th, we call upon humanity to listen with open ears to the stories of survivors and their families, and to remember those that didn’t make it.”