September 30th marks Orange Shirt Day across Turtle Island. The team at SCCFS raises their hands to Kukpi7 Fred Robbins, Esketemc First Nation, and the St. Joseph Mission Residential School Project for their vision of a movement that has touched the hearts, spirits and homes of Indigenous and non-Indigenous communities across the nation. We raise our hands to Phyllis Jack Webstad for her courage in sharing her experience of attending her first day of residential school and having her brand new, orange shirt, which was bought for her by her grandmother, taken from her. We also raise our hand to the Tk’emlúps te Secwe̓pemc for your strength to insist the grounds of the Kamloops Indian Residential School be radared to confirm what was known for years, the remains of those little ones who never made it home.
Claimed by Canada as the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation in 2021, September 30th is a time for all individuals to pause in honour of our beautiful and innocent relatives who were forced to attend these residential institutions. It is a time to remember that our families and communities continue to heal from the intergenerational damages and traumas of these horrifying “school” systems, the last of which closed in 1996. It is also a time for each of us to consider our responsibilities around [re]conciliation, to right to significant atrocities imposed in our communities, and to ensure this never happens again.
While our agency will be closed as our team reflects on Orange Shirt Day and the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, we send our love, kindness and compassion to our families, extended families and community members. We are a beautiful, brilliant and resilient people. We are change-makers and mountain movers. We are the change our ancestors prayed for.