Residents can learn, participate and remember with in-person and livestreamed events in honour of Orange Shirt Day.
Orange Shirt Day was created in 2013 by Stswecem’c Xgat’tem First Nation member Phyllis Webstad, in remembrance of the children who attended residential schools. This summer the federal government also designated Sept. 30 as National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, a statutory holiday for federal employees and federally regulated workplaces.
At the University of Victoria, a Sept. 29 event features a territorial welcome, opening prayer and speakers, and winds up with a cultural presentation.
Ry Moran, associate university librarian- reconciliation, serves as master of ceremonies.
Speakers include Qwul’sih’yah’maht Robina Thomas, associate vice-president, Indigenous; Shelagh Rogers, university chancellor; Andrea Walsh, associate professor and Kevin Hall, university president.
The event at the fountain in front of McPherson Library starts at 9 a.m. and will be streamed live at youtube.com/user/UVic. Learn more about the day’s schedule at uvic.ca/event/orange-shirt-day/index.php
UVic also hosts film screenings at Cinecenta through the week.
Screening on Sept. 27 from 1 to 3 p.m. is Savage (2009), directed by Lisa Jackson; and Kuper Island: Return to the Healing Circle (1997), directed by Christine Welsh. The screenings will be followed by a panel discussion.
Showing on Sept. 28 from 7 to 9 p.m. in the First Peoples House Ceremonial Hall will be I’tustogalis: Rising Up Together - Our Voices, Our Stories (2015), directed by Barb Cranmer; and Truth Dance and Reconciliation (2018), directed by Barbara Hager.
In Victoria the community is invited to wear orange and attend the Xe xe Smun eem-Victoria Orange Shirt Day: Every Child Matters Ceremony on Sept. 30 in Centennial Square.
Xe xe Smun eem (pronounced shat shat smun am) means sacred children in the Cowichan or Quw utsun language.
Join the community for a blessing of the land and traditional welcome, along with the raising of the Orange Shirt Day flag and a moment of silence, to honour and remember those who did not survive residential school.
The event includes Indigenous performances and guest speakers who will share their personal experiences with residential schools and reconciliation.
Event organizers Eddy Charlie and Kristin Spray will speak to the importance of raising awareness about residential schools as a way of honouring the more than 4,000 children who died, and the sacrifices made by 150,000 residential school survivors and their families across Canada.
The ceremony is free and runs from noon to 2:30 p.m., rain or shine. The wearing of masks is recommended. For those unable to attend, the ceremony will be livestreamed at facebook.com/CityofVictoriaPage.
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