On September 30, Vanderwell recognizes both Orange Shirt Day and the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, a time to reflect on and continue the reconciliation of an extremely painful chapter in our nation’s history.
Orange Shirt Day acknowledges the legacy of residential schools and honours the survivors and their families. One way we can do that is by wearing orange. The National Day for Truth and Reconciliation calls on all Canadians to remember and think about the legacy of residential schools and, wherever possible, take positive action. Each of us can play some part in reconciliation that starts with ourselves and then extends into our families, workplaces and larger communities.
While many of us have heard about Orange Shirt Day and that we’re all encouraged to wear orange that day, what may not be as well known is how this day started in 2013. Phyllis Webstad from British Columbia, a residential school survivor, shared her story of having her bright new orange shirt taken away on her first day at a residential school. And September 30 is the date chosen because that was the time of year when children were taken from their homes to residential schools.
Vanderwell hopes all Canadians will take a moment on September 30 and throughout the year to reflect on the meaning behind these special days.
Before the fur traders, explorers and settlers arrived, the Lesser Slave Lake region — where Vanderwell operates — had been home to Indigenous and Metis people. This is their traditional territory. In recognition, we are proud to support Reconciliation Canada, a national organization dedicated to engaging Canadians in dialogue and experiences that promote positive relationships among Indigenous peoples and all Canadians.
To learn more about the Truth and Reconciliation work on Indian residential schools, a summary of the Final Report of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada is available by clicking on this link.