The City of Cornwall, in partnership with the Mohawk Council of Akwesasne (MCA) and the Catholic District School Board of Eastern Ontario (CDSBEO), is proudly recognizing Orange Shirt Day on September 30, throughout the City. On Thursday, representatives of the CDSBEO, MCA and the City of Cornwall came together at the clock tower in Lamoureux Park in order to officially raise a banner to commemorate the day.
The Orange Shirt Day is designed to commemorate residential school survivors, their descendants and the children that never made it back. It’s also designed for Canadians to learn more about the impact that the residential school system has had on Indigenous communities throughout the country.
Orange Shirt Day: Every Child Matters grew from the story of one child, Phyllis (Jack) Webstad, whose grandmother gave her a shiny orange shirt to wear at St. Joseph Mission Residential School in British Columbia. On her first day the shirt was taken away and never to be seen again.
However, Phyllis is a survivor of Canada’s residential schools, and now her story is shared so that we all can better understand the legacy of these institutions in our country.
“We are proud to partner with the Catholic District School Board of Eastern Ontario and the City of Cornwall for this great initiative,” said MCA Grand Chief Abram Benedict. “We also acknowledge the work that they are doing in order to recognize September 30.”
“Recognizing Orange Shirt Day is very important to me,” said Cornwall Mayor Glen Grant. “We need to do so as we continue our positive relationship with our neighbours in Akwesasne. Recognizing the negative effects that residential school have had on Indigenous communities and their residents is the first step towards Reconciliation.”
“This is our third year partnering with the City of Cornwall and Mohawk Council of Akwesasne to raise an Orange Shirt Day banner at the Clock Tower prior to September 30, as a physical sign of working together in education and understanding as part of the Catholic District School Board of Eastern Ontario’s commitment to the Calls to Action of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission,” said Norma McDonald, Superintendent of School Effectiveness for the CDSBEO.
In attendance during the raising of the banner were members of the CDSBEO Indigenous Education Advisory Committee — Chair Kokum Brenda Rivers and Wathahiiosta (Theresa) Cook, as well as Romaine Mitchell, Indigenous Education Regional Lead with the Ministry of Education.
Cornwall residents can get involved by wearing an orange shirt on Friday, September 30 and learning more about the residential school system.
They are also encouraged to attend the Orange Shirt Day National Day of Truth and Reconciliation Community Gathering at Lamoureux Park on the same day, starting at 4 p.m. The event will feature the dedication and unveiling of orange “Every Child Matters” benches as well as the sharing of a meal and social singing and dancing.
To learn more about the Orange Shirt Day National Day of Truth and Reconciliation Community Gathering, please visit: https://bit.ly/3SoCWK2.