Orange Shirt Day in Thunder Bay – Hugs, Tears and Smiles

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NAN Drum at Pope John Paul II School in Thunder Bay
NAN Drum at Pope John Paul II School in Thunder Bay

Mayor Hobbs, NAN Deputy Grand Chief Alvin Fiddler, Councillor Paul Pugh
Mayor Hobbs, NAN Deputy Grand Chief Alvin Fiddler, Councillor Paul Pugh

THUNDER BAY – Every child matters. A simple message, but one delivered on Orange Shirt Day in Thunder Bay as community leaders, family members, and residents came together to remember the Residential School survivors and those who did not come home from school.

There were, across Canada, 4000 students who never returned home from Residential Schools. In Thunder Bay the residential school closed in 1964, but the impact of the program is still felt in Canada today. It was emotional for many of the survivors to make the walk from Thunder Bay City Hall to the site where the residential school was, where today Pope John Paul School stands.

NAN Drum at Pope John Paul II School in Thunder Bay
NAN Drum at Pope John Paul II School in Thunder Bay

Orange Shirt Day is in memory of the students who attended Residential School, and never came home, or were impacted by the experience. At a special assembly at Pope John Paul II students were told that at the site where their school is today, was the site of the Residential School in Thunder Bay.

Students who attended residential school in Thunder Bay went through many hardships, including harsh punishments. Students were taken from their families in the north, brought to Thunder Bay. Communities in the north had family bonds broken as students were not allowed to keep their language and culture.

Mayor Hobbs and Nishnawbe-Aski Deputy Grand Chief Alvin Fiddler address the group of just over 100 people at Thunder Bay City Hall.

The walk then went along Brodie Street, to Arthur Street and then to Pope John Paul II where a special assembly was held.

Nishnawbe-Aski Nation Deputy Grand Chief Alvin Fiddler
Nishnawbe-Aski Nation Deputy Grand Chief Alvin Fiddler