The importance of Orange Shirt Day


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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 09/11/2022 (203 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

On Sept. 30, Canada observed its second annual National Day for Truth and Reconciliation.

This federal holiday was created to honour the survivors of residential schools, the children who never returned home, and the families and communities who bore unimaginable suffering.

Canadians are encouraged to wear orange shirts on Sept. 30 as a symbol of solidarity with Indigenous peoples.

Winnipeg South MP Terry Duguid, pictured at a National Day for Truth and Reconciliation event.

The story of the orange shirt dates back to the 1973-74 school year, when an Indigenous girl named Phyllis Webstad attended the first day of school in Williams Lake, B.C., in an orange shirt given to her by her grandmother. Staff at the residential school took away her shirt and Phyllis never saw it again. Now it has become a powerful symbol for Indigenous identity being suppressed and stolen by the residential school system.

The National Day for Truth and Reconciliation was one of the 94 calls to action put forth by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC). Running from 2008-15, this commission offered residential school survivors and their families an opportunity to share their stories and demand accountability for the harm caused by the 140 federally run residential schools across Canada.

The TRC also called for a settlement agreement between the federal government and First Nations, an apology from the federal government, and the creation of a National Centre of Truth and Reconciliation. This Centre was created to house the stories of residential school survivors, keeping them safe for future generations.

I am incredibly proud that a new National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation building will be located on the campus of the University of Manitoba, in my home riding of Winnipeg South. It will serve as an education centre for Canada and the world, to help us all learn about the dark chapters of Canadian history, so we can walk together on the path to reconciliation.

We can all look ahead to a long tradition of National Days of Truth and Reconciliation, and more steps towards achieving true reconciliation with Indigenous people in Canada.

Terry Duguid

Terry Duguid
Winnipeg South constituency report

Terry Duguid is the Liberal MP for Winnipeg South.

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