FORT FRANCES – “Today is a sombre day in memory of those that did not come home from residential school,” said Ogichidaa Francis Kavanaugh. “But it also serves as a moment of reflection for all of us. Many are on the path of healing from their experiences and many of the things each and every one of us do every day is a way of honouring this legacy and this journey. Learning our languages, keeping our cultures strong, and holding our families close during these tough times are all ways to come to terms with the lasting damage caused by the residential school legacy.”
Ogichidaa Francis Kavanaugh and Grand Council Treaty #3 encourage everyone to wear orange in memory of this legacy and to take the opportunity to discuss, learn, educate, and reflect upon the effects of residential schools.
Since 2013, Orange Shirt Day has been observed by people honouring the story of Phyllis (Jack) Webstad who had her new orange shirt – a gift from her grandmother – taken from her the first day of residential school. The day is meant to begin conversations about the legacy of residential schools and to ensure that the motto “Every Child Matters” is never forgotten.
The Anishinaabe Nation in Treaty #3 remains on the long road to healing from the residential school experience. With one of the highest concentrations of residential schools in the country, the effects of residential schools continue to be felt by survivors and their families across Treaty #3 territory. The leadership and citizens of the Anishinaabe Nation in Treaty #3 encourage all Canadians to reflect upon these lasting effects and find ways they can contribute to the path of healing and reconciliation.