Premier John Horgan and Murray Rankin, Minister of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation, have issued the following statement on Orange Shirt Day and the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation:
“Sept. 30 is a significant day in B.C. and throughout Canada to honour the resilience, strength and healing journeys of residential school survivors and intergenerational survivors.
“We remember the children who never came home. The continued findings at former Indian Residential Schools have sparked moments of profound and sombre reflection. We stand in solidarity with First Nations as they find answers for the generations of families who were forcibly taken to, and profoundly affected by, these institutions.
“We recognize this as the beginning of a long journey. We will continue to support those communities that have taken on the deeply painful work of finding their missing children.
“For many survivors, September brings back sad memories of being taken away from their families and communities. Widely known as Orange Shirt Day, Sept. 30 was founded by Phyllis Webstad based on her experiences at St. Joseph Mission Residential School near Williams Lake.
“What began as a grassroots campaign has become a national movement calling for deep reflection on our shared history and a recognition that we are all responsible for advancing reconciliation, anti-racism and anti-bullying.
“This day reminds us of our obligation to deepen our understanding of Canada’s colonial history and address the systemic inequities that First Nations, Métis and Inuit people continue to experience. We must acknowledge a dark history, while always learning from and listening to the survivors of Indian Residential Schools, Indian Day Schools, Indian Hospitals and the Sixties Scoop.
“Throughout the country, today is also recognized as the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation. In June 2021, the federal government designated Sept. 30 as a federal statutory holiday in response to Call to Action No. 80 from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada.
“We encourage all British Columbians to approach today with humility, respect and understanding. Find time to read, watch or listen to Indigenous-created content, participate in a local or virtual event, and wear orange to show that every child matters.
“Today is an opportunity for individuals, families, communities, schools, workplaces and faith communities to come together and begin new conversations on reconciliation. By working together, we can strengthen relationships between Indigenous and non-Indigenous people today and for generations to come.”
Support services are available:
A National Indian Residential School Crisis Line has been set up to provide support for former residential school students and those affected. Access emotional and crisis referral services by calling the 24-hour national crisis line: 1 866 925-4419.
From anywhere in B.C., the KUU-US Crisis Line Society provides a First Nations and Indigenous-specific crisis line available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, toll-free. The KUU-US Crisis Line can be reached at: 1 800 588-8717.
Alternatively, call direct into the youth line at: 250 723-2040, or the adult line at: 250 723-4050, or online: https://www.kuu-uscrisisline.com/