OTTAWA - Today, the Green Party remembers the thousands of children sent to residential schools in Canada. Orange Shirt Day was created by Phyllys Webstad, a residential school survivor and community leader from the Stswecem'c Xgat'tem First Nation. She was sent to a residential school for a year in 1973/1974, when she was just six years old.
"Truth and Reconciliation has no meaning as empty words from settler culture Canadians until met with actions. The first step is to accept the truth of genocidal actions by Canadian governments from 1867, and to understand those actions are not in our past but continue in the present”, said Leader Elizabeth May. “Honoring UNDRIP means honoring commitments such as to the Stk’emlúpsemc te Secwepemc Nation to a pipeline route that does not destroy sacred areas of territory. The government owned TMX pipeline now plans to violate that commitment and destroy territory it committed to protect. Reconciliation requires land back and respect for the sovereignty of First Nations Inuit and Metis peoples across Canada."
Elizabeth May will be observing the national day for Truth and Reconciliation in Williams Lake B.C., as an invited guest at the 10th year observance of the First Orange Shirt Day with founder Phyllis Webstad.
"On the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, it's especially critical for settlers like me to recognize the ongoing injustices faced by Indigenous peoples in Canada and the horrific legacy of the so-called residential school system and other harmful policies that continues to cause intergenerational trauma to Indigenous communities across Turtle Island," said Mike Morrice (MP for Kitchener Centre). "To this day, the Government of Canada is failing to act as quickly as it can. It's been eight years since the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada's Calls to Action were released and over four years since The Final Report of the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls with little progress on either .Indigenous peoples have told us what needs to be done. We must demand quicker action."
"The lasting effects of this dark period in Canada's history are still being felt today by many Indigenous nations across the country. The recent decision by Canadian Energy Regulator (CER) to approve an expansion of the Transmountain pipeline that will create open trenches, instead of the promised microtunnels, falls short of Canada's commitment to the Stk'emlupsemc Te Secwepemc First Nation," said Deputy Leader Jonathan Pedneault. "As we approach the day that marks our national commitment to reconciliation, this is an unforgivable insult."
The Greens maintain that Canada must :
- Plan a national healing strategy developed in partnership with Indigenous peoples
- Take immediate action to improve the unacceptable living standards of too many Indigenous peoples, including the majority who now live in urban centers
- Introduce practical measures to improve health care, education and housing in indigenous communities
- Improve the treatment of Indigenous people in the Canadian justice system
Orange Shirt Day is an essential day of action in recognition of the horrific tragedy of residential schools, which still has repercussions today. On this September 30th, let's reflect together and make Canadians aware of the damage from residential schools to the survivors and their families. It's also an opportunity to spark constructive discussions about reconciliation.
For more information or to arrange an interview :
Fabrice Lachance Nové