Wear an Orange Shirt in recognition of Indian Residential School students

(Ottawa, ON) – Assembly of First Nations (AFN) National Chief Ghislain Picard is encouraging people across the country to mark Orange Shirt Day on Tuesday September 30, 2014, a day to recognize the experience of former students of Indian Residential Schools and affirm a collective commitment to ensure that every child matters.

“On September 30, I encourage everyone in Canada to wear an orange shirt to commemorate and remember the experience of the thousands of children who were taken from their families and placed in Indian residential schools and to show a commitment to work towards reconciliation,” said National Chief Picard.  “September 30th is a day to engage in discussions with one another – First Nations and non-Indigenous Canadians and commit to a future where every child matters.  Please join us in calling on the Government of Canada to officially designate September 30 as Orange Shirt Day, a day for all of us come together in the spirit of reconciliation, respect and partnership.”

Orange Shirt Day is an outcome of the St. Joseph Mission Residential School Commemoration Project and Reunion events that took place in Williams Lake, BC in May 2013.  It stems from a story told by former residential school student, Phyllis Webstad, who had her new orange shirt, bought by her grandmother, taken from her as a six-year old girl.  She spoke powerfully of how it seemed to her that nobody cared and, in this personal way, it speaks to the many harms experienced by children in the residential schools.

The AFN asks all Canadians to join First Nations in wearing an orange shirt on September 30 in the spirit of healing and reconciliation.

For more information visit  http://orangeshirtday.weebly.com/

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