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Orange Shirt Day: a bright colour to recognize dark past

(660 NEWS staff, Jenna Hamilton)
Summary

'Their childhoods were taken away from them': son of residential school survivors

'People forget that this was recent, the last residential school closed in 1996': local organizer

CALGARY (660 NEWS) – People across the country wore orange shirts on Sunday, as a way to honour residential school survivors.

Orange Shirt Day started in Williams Lake, B.C., in 2013, when one woman shared her story of having her brand new orange shirt taken away on her first day at a residential school.

To commemorate the day the Grey Eagle Casino and Resort bought orange t-shirts that read “Every Child Matters”.

Tsuu T’ina Chief Lee Crowchild’s parents attended a residential school.

“My dad went through it for five years and my mom 12 years, at that time their childhoods were taken away from them.”

Tammy Whitney, resort executive, said they acknowledged how important the date was.

“People forget that this was recent, the last residential school closed in 1996 which isn’t long ago. I think that Canada needs to recognize that this is recent trauma and have compassion instead of judgment when they cross First Nation individuals.”

Minister of Indigenous Relations, Richard Feehan and Minister of Education, David Eggen released a joint statement on Friday regarding the day.

“It is important to remember the history and legacy of residential schools. Every child matters regardless of where they live, and we must move forward together on the journey of reconciliation.”

Many schools and other organizations are marking the day on Monday.