Today marks an important day for Calgary, Alberta, and Canada as a whole.
September 30 is honoured as Orange Shirt Day, a day to remember the Indigenous children who were forced into attending residential schools, where thousands of students died.
Orange Shirt Day started in 2013 when former residential school student Phyllis Webstad told a story about her first day at school.
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According to the Orange Shirt Day organization’s website, Webstad had been given a shiny new orange shirt from her grandmother to wear for her first day.
That shirt was taken from the six-year-old girl by school authorities.
“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,” the website states.
“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 of September 30 was chosen because it was around when children were taken from their homes to attend the residential schools, and as it is near the start of the modern-day school year, it offers the chance to open up discussions about anti-racism and anti-bullying.
The City of Calgary plans to hold a moment of silence on the steps of the Municipal Building at noon, and a video will be released on the City’s YouTube Channel that aims to educate about the impacts that residential schools had on Indigenous communities.
“Reconciliation can only happen when the truth is shared, listened to and learned from,” said Harold Horsefall, Issues Strategist with the Indigenous Relations Office, in the release.
“The video we have created shares the truth of residential school, and the Indigenous Relations Office invites the community to learn and join The City on the path of reconciliation.”
The video is expected to go live at 1 pm, and it will be added to this article when available.