September 30th marks the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation. The day honours the Indigenous children who never returned home from residential schools, the Indigenous Survivors of residential and day schools as well as their families and communities. Public commemoration of the tragic and painful history and ongoing impacts colonization and attempts to eliminate Indigenous cultures including residential schools is a vital component of the reconciliation process.
September 30th is also Orange Shirt Day. Orange Shirt Day is an Indigenous-led grassroots commemorative day intended to raise awareness of the individual, family and community inter-generational impacts of residential schools, and to promote the concept of “Every Child Matters”. The orange shirt is a symbol of the stripping away of culture, freedom and self-esteem experienced by Indigenous children over generations.
On September 30, everyone is urged to wear orange to honour the thousands ofSurvivors of residential schools. A very significant number of the Indigenous residential and day schools are seniors. When they were children, many of them were taken away from their families and placed in these so-called schools. This process removed them from their cultures, subjected them to great physical and emotional harm, and often left them with no skills to either parent or navigate the world. These survivors are our peers and allies. Many of them are the same age as the members of the 411 Seniors Centre but they have faced types of trauma and adversity directly related to their Indigenous heritage. As an act of seniors reaching out to seniors, the 411 Seniors Centre is asking you to wear orange on September 30th and to reflect on what it means to be an Indigenous senior today.
The 411 Seniors Centre will be closed on September 30th to mark this important holiday.
Message from Marion Pollack, 411 Senior Centre – President