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2020 Theme for Orange Shirt Day: Embracing Change

Today is Orange Shirt Day as Indigenous peoples across the nation are acknowledging the survivors of residential schools.

Commemoration of the event was held at Long Plain First Nation’s Keeshkeemaquah conference hall and lasted all day. Lorraine Daniels is executive director of the National Indigenous Residential School Museum and outlines the origin of the day.

“It all came about when a young girl attended a residential school,” says Daniels. “She had an orange shirt on, and that was taken away from her. She had to wear the institutional clothing, and that affected her.”

Daniels says an entire list of speakers were slated for the day including advocates for the residential schools as well as honouring people that are also advocates for the Indian Day-School.

“We have a whole list of people that are going to be talking and we also have an intergenerational survivor and he’s our keynote speaker,” continues Daniels. “His mother went to residential school and he now is Regional Chief, Kevin Hart.”

She explains their theme this year is Embracing Change.

“We have to move forward,” adds Daniels. “We’re all on a healing journey. Everybody is in a different area of their healing journey, and so we’re embracing that change for everybody. And there’s hope for everybody. Then, hopefully, we can move forward.”

Daniels notes this year they’ve seen a lot of progress despite COVID-19.

“In terms of getting our National Historic designation for the (Rufus Prince) building as well as being recognized for the work that we’ve done at the museum by the National Trust for Canada,” explains Daniels. “We were awarded, too. So, there’s a lot of good things happening in spite of the COVID-19. That’s not going to prevent us from moving forward.”

She adds today is a good day to embrace change and that’s her hope for residential school survivors.

Courtesy of Portage Online