(Brockville, ON) – National Day for Truth and Reconciliation (commonly called Orange Shirt Day) is recognized on September 30 each year to commemorate the tragic residential school experience, honour the healing journey of the survivors and their families, and commit to the ongoing process of reconciliation.
The Upper Canada District School Board (UCDSB) will recognize this important day on Friday, September 29, by encouraging staff and students to wear orange to show support for survivors of the residential school system, and to affirm our commitment to reconciliation. UCDSB schools have been provided learning resources leading up to Orange Shirt Day, and opportunities to listen to guest speaker Thelan Kicknosway, an Indigenous youth who uses his voice to spread his message and showcase Indigenous culture.
Schools across the UCDSB will also participate in classroom activities to expand their learning on Indigenous culture and the importance of reconciliation on September 29 and the days leading up to it. For example:
- Naismith Memorial Public School has invited UCDSB Indigenous Support Teacher Bill Montgomery for presentations and activities focusing on stories from Haida Culture. A school-wide art activity is being organized that will commemorate of residential school survivors and victims and will be on display at the school.
- Almonte District High School will hold a smudging ceremony during their September 29 assembly with Indigenous elder Larry McDermott, an Algonquin from Shabot Obaadjiwan First Nation.
- At the end of their Character and Academic assembly on September 29, Longue Sault Public School staff and students will participate in a Every Child Matters walk.
- Each class from Drummond Central School will be participating in a different activity throughout the week using First Nations, Métis, and Inuit resources, with their finished product creating a banner to be displayed on September 29.
- Montague Public School will be connecting virtually with Indigenous learning opportunities throughout the day on September 29.
“This is a day to reflect and give students and opportunity to learn about the residential school system and the truth of the past, and also to celebrate the resilience and brilliance of Indigenous peoples,” says Kelty Grant, UCDSB Principal of Indigenous Education. “Through listening and understanding we can continue the healing process and move together towards reconciliation.”
“No matter the age, we all have a responsibility to learn from the past and move forward towards reconciliation,” says UCDSB chair John McAllister. “Let us all take this opportunity to reflect and strive to build a better future.”