The Minister of Indigenous Relations, Richard Feehan, and the Minister of Education, David Eggen, issued the following joint statement on Orange Shirt Day, which honours residential school survivors and promotes ongoing reconciliation.
“Orange Shirt Day is a call for all Albertans to come together in the spirit of reconciliation, and to offer hope for generations of children to come. We are proud to wear orange today to honour and bring awareness to the experiences of residential school survivors.
“The residential school system is a dark period in our history. We must journey together toward reconciliation; we can’t know where we’re going until we understand where we’ve been.
“Premier Rachel Notley has apologized for Alberta’s silence in the face of the Indian Residential School system. Our government has committed to implementing the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Calls to Action, including the adoption of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples as a framework for reconciliation.”
- Richard Feehan, Minister of Indigenous Relations
“In the spirit of reconciliation, we are enhancing curriculum so all K-12 students and teachers will learn about residential schools, treaties, and First Nations, Métis and Inuit history, perspectives and contributions. Through the Joint Commitment to Action, signed on June 22, we will ensure that all teachers have this knowledge within the next two to three years.
“Today, we encourage all Albertans to come together to show their support and to help build a brighter future for all.”
- David Eggen, Minister of Education
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, Metis and Inuit peoples, and also governments, schools and communities to come together in the spirit of reconciliation.