Premier Doug Ford and Greg Rickford, Minister of Indigenous Affairs, released the following statement in recognition of the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation and Orange Shirt Day:
“On September 30th, people in Ontario and across Canada are observing the third annual National Day for Truth and Reconciliation. It is an opportunity to honour those who survived the Indian Residential School system and remember those who did not make it home. Ontarians are encouraged to take the time today to learn more and reflect on this dark and disturbing period in our country’s history and acknowledge the intergenerational harm it has caused.
Orange Shirt Day is also recognized on September 30th. The day recalls the residential school experience of Phyllis Webstad. Phyllis, a Survivor from the Stswecem’c Xget’tem First Nation, wore an orange shirt gifted to her by her grandmother on her first day at St. Joseph Mission Residential School in British Columbia. The shirt was taken from her when she arrived and never given back, marking the beginning of Phyllis’s long and traumatic separation from her family, culture and heritage.
Today, Ontario will light a number of government buildings orange, and people across the country will wear orange to honour the more than 150,000 Indigenous children who were forced into Residential Schools.
In the spirit of reconciliation, Ontarians are encouraged to take every opportunity today, and throughout the year, to learn more and reflect on the tragic legacy of the Indian Residential School system and its impacts on Indigenous communities.”