Thunder Bay, ON – Today, the Ontario Native Women’s Association (ONWA) honours survivors of residential schools and their families. We come together in the spirit of reconciliation and hope for generations of children to come. We commemorate the residential school experience by witnessing and holding space for the healing journey of survivors and their families.
ONWA acknowledges that the Federal Government’s official designation of a National Day for Truth and Reconciliation allows Canadians an opportunity to recognize and commemorate the tragic legacy of residential schools. This designation fulfills one of the 94 Calls to Action from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission report. The new federal statutory holiday falls on September 30th, which for many years has been recognised by Indigenous communities as “Orange Shirt Day”. We commit to the ongoing process of reconciliation with our orange shirts and we affirm that “Every Child Matters”.
With the June recovery of 215 unmarked graves at the former Kamloops Residential School, and the finding of thousands more at residential schools across Canada, people across the country and the world have been awakened to the ongoing impacts of the residential school system.
In addition to the acknowledgement of the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, ONWA recommends immediate action be taken on the following:
A guarantee by all levels of government to the full and timely implementation of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s 94 Calls to Action
An immediate reinstatement of the Aboriginal Healing Foundation, including funding and programs to support healing services for Indigenous women, families, and communities
Tonight from 6:00-8:00 PM (Eastern Time), ONWA is hosting the virtual event “Every Child Matters: A night of speaking the truth to heal together” to raise awareness of the impacts of the residential schools. Register to participate at https://bit.ly/3AIizPi or watch live on ONWA’s Facebook.
Today, this Orange Shirt Day, let us not forget “Every Child Matters”.
*If you or a family member have been impacted and require emotional support, contact the 24-Hour Residential School Crisis Line at 1-866-925-4419.
For more information:
Andre Morriseau, Communications Manager
Ontario Native Women’s Association (ONWA)