The Fort Frances Public Library Technology Centre will mark “Orange Shirt Day” on Saturday, Sept. 30 with a special activity in recognition of survivors of residential schools.
At 2 p.m. that day, JoAnne Formanek Gustafson, local teacher and member of the Elementary Teachers Federation of Ontario, will be on hand to guide participants in making an “Orange Shirt” lapel pin they can wear.
Participants also will have opportunities to ask questions, share their knowledge, and be part of discussions that will help them develop their own understanding of the role of the wider community in moving toward reconciliation with indigenous people in Canada.
“Orange Shirt Day” is a legacy of the St. Joseph Mission (SJM) residential school commemoration event held in Williams Lake, B.C. in the spring of 2013.
It grew out of Phyllis’ story of having her shiny new orange shirt taken away on her first day of school at the Mission, and it has become an opportunity to keep the discussion on all aspects of residential schools happening annually.
The date was chosen because it is the time of year in which children were taken from their homes to residential schools, and because it is an opportunity to set the stage for anti-racism and anti-bullying policies for the coming school year.
It also gives teachers time to plan events that will include children, as we want to ensure we are passing the story and learning on to the next generations.
“Orange Shirt Day” also is an opportunity for First Nations, local governments, schools, and communities to come together in the spirit of reconciliation and hope for generations of children to come.