BRUCE COUNTY – On Thursday, Sept. 2, Bruce County council adopted a resolution in support of reconciliation, acknowledgement, and collaboration for the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation.
Bruce County Council has committed to recognizing Sept. 30 as the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation (National Orange Shirt Day) by sharing the stories of residential school survivors, their families, and communities.
Bruce County will also fly the “Every Child Matters” flag at prominent county locations during September, lowering the flags to half-mast on Thursday, Sept. 30 to acknowledge Orange Shirt Day and the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation.
“On Sept. 30, residents and businesses are encouraged to join Bruce County council and staff in wearing an orange shirt to show support that every child matters, and to participate in a collective act of reconciliation,” said Bruce County Warden Janice Jackson. “Over the months of September and October, please take part in the educational resources and activities that will be shared to deepen understanding and move forward the calls to action set out by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.”
The Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) released its final report on June 2, 2015, which included 94 Calls to Action to redress the legacy of residential schools and advance the process of Canadian reconciliation. The recent discoveries of remains and unmarked graves at the sites of former residential schools across Canada have led to increased calls for all levels of government to address the recommendations. All Canadians and all orders of government have a role to play in reconciliation.
The federal government announced that Sept. 30, 2021 would be the first National Day for Truth and Reconciliation and a statutory holiday. This fulfills recommendation No. 80 of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, that the federal government, in collaboration with Indigenous peoples, establish, as a statutory holiday, a National Day for Truth and Reconciliation to ensure that public commemoration of the history and legacy of residential schools remains a vital component of the reconciliation process.
Orange Shirt Day is a movement to recognize the colonial legacy of residential schools and commit to the ongoing process of reconciliation. Observed since 2013, Orange Shirt Day recalls the experience of residential school Survivor Phyllis Webstad, who at six years old was stripped of her brand-new bright orange T-shirt, in favour of mandatory uniforms, on her first day at a residential school in 1973. Her story formed the nucleus for what has become a national movement to recognize the experience of survivors of residential schools, honour them, and show a collective commitment to ensure that every child matters. The initiative calls for every Canadian to wear an orange shirt on Sept. 30 in the spirit of healing and reconciliation. The date of Sept. 30 was chosen because it was the time of year when Indigenous children were removed from their families and forced to attend residential schools.