National Day of Truth and Reconciliation, also known as Orange Shirt Day, will be held at Lamoureux Park on Saturday, September 30th, 2023.
The first National Day of Truth and Reconciliation took place in 2021 to honour the children who died while attending residential schools in Canada and the impacts that the residential school system still have on families and communities today.
Representatives from the Mohawk Council of Akwesasne (MCA), City of Cornwall, Ahkwesasne Mohawk Board of Education (AMBE), Upper Canada District School Board (UCDSB), and Catholic District School Board of Eastern Ontario (CDSBEO) gathered at the Lamoureux Park clocktower for a flag raising ceremony on Thursday.
“I’m glad to be here today,” said Donna Lahache, Director of the Ahkwesahsne Mohawk Board of Education, “I think that it shows the changes that are happening and the strong partnership that we have with the Upper Canada school board and the Catholic board. I think it’s really important that we continue to work together to ensure that culture and language are represented in the schools and that all of the children have the opportunity to learn about Mohawk culture.”
Last year, the flag raising was a partnership between the Mohawk Council of Akwesasne, City of Cornwall, and CDSBEO. This year, the AMBE and UCSDB also took part.
“Our council fully supports any initiative that’s going to create a bigger bridge between us and our neighbours in Akwesasne,” shared Councillor Elaine MacDonald, honoured to attend in place of Mayor Justin Towndale, who was at a funeral, “Anything we can do to enhance the ease of truth and reconciliation is, I would say priority number one of council. I apologize that we haven’t done more in the years that have gone by, but we are certainly committed to that goal going forward.”
Those who attended Orange Shirt Day last year in Lamoureux Park will notice some changes this year, including interactive activities to inspire learning about Mohawk culture and a focus on speeches from residential school survivors rather than local dignitaries.