OTTAWA – Carolyn Bennett, Minister of Indigenous and Northern Affairs, issued the following statement today:
“Today, from coast to coast to coast, Canadians wear orange to raise awareness of the tragic legacy of Residential Schools, and to honour the thousands of survivors.
Orange Shirt Day: Every Child Matters grew from the story of one child, Phyllis (Jack) Webstad, whose grandmother gave her a shiny orange shirt to wear at St. Joseph Mission Residential School. On her first day at the school, the shirt was taken away, never to be seen again. Gone, too, was the child’s sense of dignity and self-worth. But that child persevered, she made it through residential school, and now she shares her stories so that we all can better understand the legacy of residential schools in our country.
Our government is committed to the vital work of reconciliation, the process of truth telling and healing for Indigenous peoples as laid out by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. The TRC and their calls to action, have helped shed light on a dark chapter of Canada’s history of colonization and residential schools, and on the impact of its sad legacy. Our government is committed to moving past this terrible time in our collective history.
Reconciliation has to be about all Canadians. On this day, I encourage everyone not only to wear orange, but to take this opportunity to learn more about the legacy of Indian Residential Schools, to read the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Final Report and Calls to Action, and to come together in the spirit of reconciliation, healing and hope for generations of children to come. Because every child truly does matter.”