September 30, 2021 marks the first National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, which coincides with Orange Shirt Day. The day honours the lost children and survivors of residential schools, their families and communities. Public commemoration of the tragic and painful history and ongoing impacts of residential schools is a vital component of the reconciliation process.
The Town of Bradford West Gwillimbury will be holding a flag raising and lowering and a smudging ceremony with local Indigenous elder, White Eagle, in front of the BWG Leisure Centre at 471 West Park Avenue starting at 10:00 a.m. All are welcome to attend.
An Every Child Matters event is taking place this evening starting at 6:30 p.m. on the Library lawn, organized by local groups including the BWG Diversity Action Group and Rise Up BWG.
Orange Shirt Day is an Indigenous-led grassroots commemorative day that honours the children who survived Indian Residential Schools and remembers those who did not. This day relates to the experience of Phyllis Webstad, a Northern Secwpemc (Shuswap) from the Stswecem'cXgat'tem First Nation, on her first day of school, where she arrived dressed in a new orange shirt, which was taken from her. It is now a symbol of the stripping away of culture, freedom and self-esteem experienced by Indigenous children over generations. On September 30, we encourage all Canadians to wear orange to raise awareness of the very tragic legacy of residential schools, and to honour the thousands of Survivors.
The Library is closed today to observe the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, but in past weeks and for the next several days, it is featuring displays of local Indigenous art and artifacts, offering reading lists for education and celebration of Indigenous culture, and there will be a special Storywalk® on Saturday (read tomorrow’s article for full details).
The Town of BWG and BWG Public Library encourage residents to learn about the histories and cultures of the Indigenous people of Canada, particularly here in the place we now call BWG.
A webpage has been created to offer resources to the community that will help us achieve the aims of education, reconciliation and reflection. Click here to visit the page.
Here you can see the local Land Acknowledgement, and find links to educational resources including the Truth & Reconciliation reports, information on the Indigenous Peoples who first inhabited this area, and videos both to celebrate Indigenous cultures and heritage as well as to understand the issues they have and continue to face.
The page also offers suggested links if you wish to donate to help people impacted by the “residential school” system. This page will be updated on an ongoing basis, and suggestions for additions are welcome.