By Rosemary Evans, Principal
In 2015, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission published their Calls to Action. UTS accepted the call and we have worked to build our understanding of residential schools, First Nations histories, cultures and languages.
The UTS co-captains and the Indigenous Solidarity Committee have coordinated an Orange Shirt Day for our community for Friday, September 29.
Orange Shirt Day was introduced in 2013 to recognize the impact of residential schools on First Nations. In 1973, six year-old, Phyllis Webstad, entered the St. Joseph Mission Residential School – run by the Missionary Oblates, a religious order – near Williams Lake, BC. Phyllis wore a brand new orange shirt on her first day of school – a shirt her grandmother had given her for this significant occasion. School officials forced Phyllis to replace her new shirt with the school’s uniform.
For those interested in learning more about residential schools, Historica has produced a "heritage minute” video with a powerful script written by novelist, Joseph Boyden. The video tells the story of Chanie "Charlie" Wenjack, whose death initiated the first inquest into the treatment of Indigenous children in Canadian residential schools. Here's a resource created by Historica on the history of residential schools.
By introducing the Orange Shirt Campaign at UTS we are demonstrating our commitment to the ongoing process of acknowledging the truth of the residential schools experience and working toward reconciliation in Canada.
Follow Rosemary Evans on Twitter @Rosemary_Evans