Orange Shirt Day to honour survivors and descendants in Saskatoon
The City of Saskatoon in partnership with Reconciliation Saskatoon invites residents to wear an orange t-shirt or clothing item on September 30 and get involved in a number of community activities planned on the day.
“As a survivor of the residential school system, Orange Shirt Day is extremely significant for me as it shines light on the impact of the Indian residential school system not just to the thousands of children taken from their homes, but to their families and descendants who are still recovering from the devastating impacts today,” says Neal Kewistep, Executive-in-Residence, Johnson Shoyama Graduate School of Public Policy, University of Saskatchewan.
“We need to listen to and respect the voices of the survivors who are willing to speak up about their experiences and keep working together as a community towards answering the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada’s (TRC) Calls to Action,” says Kewistep.
A free indoor community pancake breakfast will be held at 10 a.m. at the Western Development Museum, which will include a speaker program, music and entertainment. A moment of silence will be held to honour the survivors, their descendants and those that lost their lives.
“It’s been great to see Orange Shirt Day growing in momentum every year, both here in Saskatoon and across Canada,” says Central Urban Métis Federation Inc. President Shirley Isbister.
“Reconciliation Saskatoon, along with our main sponsors Saskatoon Community Foundation and Nutrien, are proud to support this day and bring the community together to raise awareness of the terrible impact of Indian residential schools on generations of children, and to honour the survivors and their families,” says Isbister.
The event coincides with Métis Cultural Days celebrating 25 years of community, which includes music and entertainment for the family, an interfaith service and a gospel jamboree featuring musician, singer and country music artist Donny Parenteau. For more information, visit cumfi.org.
Prior to the breakfast, residents can also join the EY River Classic Run and wear orange to honour survivors with a 10K, 5K or 2K Run. Orange shirts are available to purchase online. Register at raceroster.com and search for “EY Classic”.
Reconciliation Saskatoon is an 88-member initiative of community organizations, non-profit organizations, businesses and partners who have come together to initiate a citywide conversation about reconciliation and provide opportunities for everyone to engage in the TRC’s Calls to Action.
Orange Shirt Day was officially recognized in 2016 by the Saskatchewan School Boards Association. Schools and businesses across Saskatoon will participate by running educational activities in the weeks leading up to September 30.
The City of Saskatoon’s commitment to the TRC’s Calls to Action supports the City’s strategic goal of Quality of Life by identifying actions for enhancing Aboriginal residents’ well-being and participation in our community.