September 30, 2021 marks the first National Day for Truth and Reconciliation in Canada. This federal statutory holiday was passed into federal law in June of this year and Nova Scotia is among a handful of provinces that is also recognizing this day as an official holiday. But this is not a holiday of celebration, this is a day that honours the lost lost children and Survivors of residential schools as well as their families and communities that have been forever impacted. Public commemoration of this traumatic history and it’s ongoing impact is an important part of reconciliation.
On campus here at StFX we will have a commemorative ceremony on September 30. For the 3 days leading up to September 30 the library has been hosting button-making workshops so that our community can wear a commemorative button in solidarity with the Indigenous people of this land.
Orange Shirt Day
Before this national day was proclaimed, September 30th had been recognized as “Orange Shirt Day”. Rebekah Glendinning prepared this post about Orange Shirt Day:
What is orange shirt day?
September 30th is Orange Shirt Day, an annual event to remember and honor the Indigenous children who experienced the trauma of the residential school system.
Today we are called to remember the history of cultural genocide in Canada, to participate in meaningful discussions on the legacy of residential schools, and to reaffirm our commitments to reconciliation.
Why orange shirts?
The event is based on the story of Phyllis Webstad, who had her new orange shirt taken from her on her first day at St. Joseph’s Mission residential school. The story has come to represent much more than a shirt, and symbolizes all that was taken away from Indigenous children.
Below is a list of books that share stories from survivors on the impact of the residential school system on them and their communities.