September 28, 2021


by: admin


Tags: Day, Dressing, Great, Orange, Shirt, startbut


Categories: Parenting

Dressing for Orange Shirt Day is a superb begin—however you are able to do extra

30. September is the first national day for Truth and Reconciliation, also known as Orange Shirt Day in many elementary schools and communities. It’s meant for people to think about that History of boarding schools, and the survivors who live on today.

I’m Anishinaabe, and I think this day can be seen as progress – it’s a forward-looking concept. Never before have so many Canadians devoted themselves to boarding schools. In the spring, non-indigenous families across the country hung orange shirts from their porches, stacked shoes and teddy bears on the steps of government buildings, and cut out 215 orange hearts for the children found on the site of the former Kamloops Residential School in Kamloops. But that was four months ago. It’s hard to tell if everyone cares that much. Can wearing an orange t-shirt and including indigenous history in the lesson plan for a single day in September really make the kind of change we really need?

My partner and i are raise our daughter over the Poundmaker Cree Nation’s Contract 6 lands in Saskatchewan. While we talk a little about Orange Shirt Day, conversations about boarding schools, contractual relationships with the land we live on and the history of the indigenous people are woven into our daily family life. It’s not just a day. It varies from family to family, but some children hear about their boarding school experiences from their moshums and kokums during visits. This is our truth, and I was taught about it at a very young age. It’s been a normal topic of conversation for as long as I can remember.

Photo: Courtesy of Andrea Landry

The reality is that the long-term effects of boarding schools persist in many indigenous communities today. Families are still healing from the intergenerational trauma that became the foundation of these schools. The priests and nuns who raised our children in these schools ultimately rooted a specific, detached way of dealing with children, which in turn created a new style of parenting for generations to come. That approach was really different and very different from ours traditional parenting practices.

In addition, thousands of children have not made it home, and many are still waiting to be found in unmarked graves. Others died trying to get home alone in the middle of long, cold winters.

This year you have to do more than wear the orange shirt. Do more than just observe a moment of silence or reflection. Talking to your children about the truth of colonization and boarding schools needs to happen all year round, not just September 30th. And as indigenous parents and families, we need to see more.

1. Learn about the story of the day

The original Orange Shirt Day was launched in 2013 in Williams Lake First Nation, BC after founder and survivor Phyllis Webstad von Stswecem’c Xgat’tem First Nation first told how her brand new orange shirt was stripped off when she arrived at St. Joseph’s Mission Residential School in 1973. It is intended to honor the indigenous children who were stolen from their families during the operation of the church run Boarding schools from the 1890s to 1996. Only this year is September 30th an official public holiday. But it’s not a day off, and it’s not a celebration – it’s a memory. It’s part of Call to Action 80 from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission report, It states that the federal government will work with indigenous peoples to establish a legal day to “honor survivors, their families and communities, and ensure that public commemoration of the history and heritage of boarding schools is an integral part of the reconciliation process remain”.

A child digs in a garden on a sunny day

Photo: Courtesy of Andrea Landry

2. Find out more about the land you live on

Every Canadian should know which treaty country you live in (if you live in treaty land, there are also parts of the country that are not contracting states, making these areas unassigned land). There are several ways to find out about today’s Land Claim Agreements. I recommend this guide: “Whose Country Is It Anyway: A Handbook on Decolonization” which was put together by Peter McFarlane and Nicole Schabus.

Ultimately, it comes down to finding out how your ancestors got the piece of land you live on that enables you to be “Canadians”. Recognize the reality that this very likely happened through the forced displacement of indigenous peoples from this very land (probably their original home base); Land use; and many other illegal ways. Remember, this piece of land is indigenous then and now. Remember that your families were originally given permission by indigenous peoples to live on indigenous land.

3. Discuss the ongoing genocide and colonization

Genocide and colonization still happen today, but we have different terms (and systems) for them. The child welfare system is simply the watered-down version of boarding schools with the same purpose and purpose. (In Canada, more than 52 percent of the Foster children are indigenous people, but only 7.7 percent of the child population according to Statistics Canada and the 2016 census.) Start thinking critically about this number and why things are the way they are today.

4. Don’t be performative

Do more than just superficial gestures, e.g. B. just quickly share a post again and wear a t-shirt. Do what you have to do to further educate yourself and really understand the story. Read books and articles written by and for tribal peoples. Know what terms like “indigenous nation”, “indigenous sovereignty” and “contractual rights” really mean. (The Manual “Whose country is it anyway” is a good resource for delving deeper into these.)

5. Teach your children the truth in developmental language

Do not traumatize children with all of the terrible details of what happened in these schools. Highlight the basics. You don’t have to know anything about physical and sexual abuse, however to do tell them that indigenous children were abducted by their families and forced to live in schools for years.

A woman is standing in a meadow and wearing a brightly colored skirt

Photo: Courtesy of Andrea Landry

6. Do not expect applause or gratitude from indigenous peoples

When you stand up for tribal peoples, don’t expect us to be the ones to teach, educate, or reconnect you.

7. Do not act like tribal peoples are victims and need someone to save them

Sometimes working with allies ultimately turns out to be a kind of “without our help, you wouldn’t be successful in life” dynamic. It underscores a “white savior” mentality that can be very problematic. The truth is that indigenous peoples organize, advocate, strategize, and provide solutions to the myriad problems and problems that have held our people back through colonization for hundreds of years. After the excavation of generations of indigenous children who never grew up, we now have one Generation of indigenous children proud of who they are and where they come from. We don’t need to save. We just need partnership – if desired.

It takes work, time, and energy to learn what needs to be done and to uncover the truth that was obviously hidden. Honor those who never made it home. Pray for their families who never had the opportunity to meet their abducted relatives. And do the work you need to do beyond a day of vacation.

Honor your side of the contractual relationship. Honor the peoples on whose original land you live.



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