Call us anytime, day or night: 1-800-265-8300 or 519-824-2410
Help support our Children First Fund

National Day for Truth and Reconciliation

September 30th. Honour the Day. National Day for Truth and Reconciliation. Image by APTN

Orange Shirt Day

September 30th has been declared Orange Shirt Day annually, in recognition of the harm the residential school system did to children’s sense of self-esteem and well being, and as an affirmation of the commitment to ensure that everyone matters.

The story of Orange Shirt Day: Phyllis Webstad:

When Phyllis Webstad (nee Jack) turned six, she went to the residential school for the first time. On her first day at school, she wore a shiny orange shirt that her Granny had bought for her, but when she got to the school, it was taken away from her and never returned. This is the true story of Phyllis and her orange shirt. It is also the story of Orange Shirt Day. To Phyllis the colour orange was a symbol that she did not matter. Today she has learned to accept the colour and even have fun with it and now the orange shirt has become a symbol of hope and reconciliation. By wearing an orange shirt on Orange Shirt Day, you make a powerful statement that residential schools were wrong and commit to the concept that EVERY CHILD MATTERS.

You can listen to Phyllis talk about her story here

National Day for Truth and Reconciliation

This year, for the first time, September 30th has been dedicated as an official Federal statutory holiday. The National Day for Truth and Reconciliation commemorates the tragic and  genocidal legacy of residential schools in Canada. This is a day that offers Canadians some time to learn, reflect, and take action toward equity and justice for Indigenous Peoples in Canada.

Our Commitment to Reconciliation

It wouldn’t be right of us to decry the treatment of Indigenous children in the residential school system in Canada, without first acknowledging the harmful impact governmental and child welfare policies and practices have had on generations of Indigenous children, families and communities, in a legacy that still continues today with the over-representation of Indigenous children in care, and families involved with our system.  

We are committed to ongoing learning, to increase our understanding and awareness of the rich cultures and traditions of Indigenous Peoples in Canada, and especially of those individuals, families and communities that we work with.

We are committed to moving reconciliation forward at our agency, within our sector, and within our community by honouring Indigenous beliefs, cultures, language and traditions.

We are committed to creating new processes and policies that keep anti-oppression and equity at the forefront of our work. and doing whatever we need to do to ensure equitable outcomes for Indigenous children and families.

We recognize that no apology can make up for the harm to Indigenous children, families, and communities. We know that it is only through listening to the Indigenous voices, a deep commitment to restoring the oversight of child welfare to Indigenous communities and working with Indigenous children, youth, families and communities to offer the services and supports needed that we can begin to address the harms of the past. Our organization through our staff and Board of Directors recognize that, to accomplish this, we will need to work differently than we have in the past, because we know and believe that “Every Child Matters”.

I acknowledge that the land on which we live, and work is Indigenous territory. The city of Guelph and Wellington County is situated on treaty land of many First Nations people. I acknowledge the Mississaugas of the Credit First Nation of the Anishinaabek Peoples on whose traditional territory we are on. I acknowledge the ancestral and unceded territory of all the First Nations, Inuit, and Métis people that call this nation home and recognize their contributions in shaping and strengthening this community, our province and country. We are responsible as individuals and as a collective to commit to reconciliation including the justice for murdered and missing Indigenous Women, Girls and Two Spirit, across our country.