For immediate release
September 30, 2020
Treaty Five Territory, Thompson, MB – Manitoba Keewatinowi Okimakanak Inc. (MKO) is acknowledging Orange Shirt Day as an important day to remember the survivors of the residential school system as well as the children who passed away while attending these schools.
“Residential schools are an extremely painful legacy for many First Nations people throughout Canada, however, Orange Shirt Day is an opportunity for dialogue about the practice of removing Indigenous children from their families,” stated Grand Chief Garrison Settee, who is an inter-generational survivor of the residential school system.
“Many people still don’t know about residential schools,” said Grand Chief Settee. “I encourage people across the Province of Manitoba as well as our entire country to join me in taking part in Orange Shirt Day. While it’s impactful to see everyone wearing their orange shirts today, I encourage everyone to create an ongoing dialogue on this topic. It’s important that Canadians from all backgrounds, along with newcomers, learn about the impact of residential schools.”
The residential school system was created to assimilate First Nations, Inuit, and Metis students into the dominant culture of a colonized Canada. Many students experienced horrific abuse and were punished for speaking their Indigenous languages. Young children were separated from their families and communities to attend residential schools across the country.
Earlier this month, the federal government announced it would recognize residential schools as an event of national significance and will designate two former schools as national historic sites.
“I am pleased to see progress being made on the 94 Calls to Action set forth by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada,” stated Grand Chief Settee. “We still have a lot of work to do to heal from the inter-generational effects of the residential school system. We are strong, resilient people and we will continue to heal and work towards having all 94 TRC Calls to Action implemented to help us build a brighter future for the generations of Indigenous children to come.”