Minister of Indigenous Relations Richard Feehan and Minister of Education David Eggen issued the following statement to commemorate Orange Shirt Day, which honours residential school survivors and promotes ongoing reconciliation:
“On Sept. 30, people across the province will wear an orange shirt to honour and bring awareness to the experiences of residential school survivors. We encourage all Albertans to participate in activities in their schools and communities and to wear orange in the spirit of reconciliation.
“It is important to remember the history and legacy of residential schools. Every child matters regardless of where they live, and we must move forward together on the journey of reconciliation.
“Our government remains committed to continuing along the path towards renewed relationships with Indigenous Peoples. We will continue to work with Indigenous leaders and communities to ensure all children get the best education possible – one that reflects and values their cultures and identities.
“Education Framework Agreements are one way our government is working with Indigenous communities on this important commitment. Since 2016, the Government of Alberta has signed separate Framework Agreements with the Kee Tas Kee Now Tribal Council and the four Maskwac?s Cree Nations. These agreements are the first of their kind in Alberta and are a vital step towards reconciliation and improving access to opportunities for First Nations students in Alberta.
“Today – and every day – we encourage Albertans to learn about the trauma of residential schools and come together to build a brighter future for all.”
Orange Shirt Day began in 2013 when one woman shared her story of having her brand new orange shirt taken away from her on her first day at a residential school, and with it her identity. It has since become an opportunity for First Nations, governments, schools and communities to come together in the spirit of reconciliation. The official date is Sept. 30.