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Wednesday, September 22, 2021

Wawa to mark the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation #OrangeShirtDay

from unlearn.com

Wawa, Ontario | September 30th – Orange Shirt Day has been recognized by the Federal Government as the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, a new statutory holiday. The Truth and Reconciliation Call to Action #80 states that the federal government will work with Indigenous people to establish a statutory day to “honour Survivors, their families, and communities, and ensure that public commemoration of the history and legacy of residential schools remains a vital component of the reconciliation process”. There are 94 Calls to Action.

In Wawa, the Town Hall and all municipal facilities will be closed and staff is encouraged to continue to expand their education as part of their individual reconciliation efforts.

Municipal Council notes that anyone who is interested in developing a better understanding can visit the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada’s website, or use the Libby App to access digital books by Indigenous authors, such as “21 Things You May Not Know About the Indian Act” by Robert P.C. Joseph.

Other books that residents may find educating are:

  • Clearing the Plains – James Daschuk
  • The Inconvenient Indian – Thomas King
  • Seven Fallen Feathers: Racism, Death, and Hard Truths in a Northern City – Tanya Talaga

Residents may wish to visit these two websites:

  • Orange Shirt Day (www.orangeshirtday.org). Orange Shirt Day originates from the story of Phyllis Webstad from the Stswecem’c Xgat’tem First Nation. In 1973, on her first day at St. Joseph’s Residential School in Williams Lake, BC, Phyllis’s shiny new orange shirt was stripped from her, never to be seen again. 40 years later, on September 30th, 2013, Phyllis spoke publicly for the first time about her experience, and thus began the Orange Shirt Day movement.
  • National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation (https://nctr.ca). From September 27th to October 1st the NCTR will provide historical workshops, exclusive video content, and activities for students — all supported by artistic and cultural performances by First Nations, Métis, and Inuit artists.

A new broadcast special, National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, in partnership with APTN, CBC/Radio-Canada, Insight Productions and Canadian Heritage. In recognition of the new federal statutory holiday, also known as Orange Shirt Day, this unique one-hour, commercial-free primetime special honours the stories and perspectives of Indigenous Peoples affected by the tragedies of the residential school system in Canada, with musical tributes and ceremonies in Indigenous communities across the land. National Day for Truth and Reconciliation will broadcast and stream live Thursday, September 30 at 8 p.m. ET on APTN, CBC, CBC Gem, ICI TÉLÉ and ICI TOU.TV.

Additionally, the Wawa Goose Monument will be illuminated in orange on September 30th, to honour survivors of residential schools, along with their families and communities.

“Council has prioritized relationship building with our Indigenous neighbours,” said Mayor Rody. “We will continue to work with local Indigenous leaders to best determine how we can support their efforts and find opportunities to learn and highlight the First Nation roots of the community. Thank you to municipal staff for having the orange lights illuminating the Wawa Goose in honour and recognition of the residential school survivors and their families on September 30th. This is only a small part of recognition, and we have much more work to do.”

In June, the federal government passed legislation recognizing Sept. 30 as a federal holiday, a paid day off for federal workers and employees in federally regulated workplaces. On Sept. 9, the Ontario government confirmed that the day will not be a holiday for the province.

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Detailed discussion of the Bering Strait theory and other scientific theories about the population of the modern-day Americas is beyond the scope of this essay. However, it should be noted that Indian people have expressed suspicion that DNA analysis is a tool that scientists will use to support theories about the origins of tribal people that contradict tribal oral histories and origin stories. Perhaps more important,the alternative origin stories of scientists are seen as intending to weaken tribal land and other legal claims (and even diminish a history of colonialism?) that are supported in U.S. federal and tribal law. As genetic evidence has already been used to resolve land conflicts in Asian and Eastern European countries, this is not an unfounded fear.

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