Minister of Indigenous Relations Rick Wilson issued the following statement about Orange Shirt Day:
Minister Wilson and Minister of Culture, Multiculturalism and Status of Women Leela Aheer join Albertans in recognizing Orange Shirt Day in their orange shirts.
“About 12,000 residential school survivors and their families live in Alberta. They are our friends and our neighbours. For generations, they have carried with them trauma of being pulled from their families, punished for speaking their languages and, far too often, abused at the hands of their caretakers.
“For as long as they have carried that pain, they have shown the will to overcome it. Unfortunately, Indigenous Peoples still face racism and misunderstanding.
“The time to end that is now. Each year on Sept. 30, we put on orange shirts to honour survivors’ experiences and to acknowledge that tragic past. Each one of us bears a responsibility to support safe and inclusive environments for generations of children to come.
“I am proud to be part of a government that is taking a stand and delivering on that promise by working every day to create more inclusive experiences for Indigenous students in Alberta.
“Today, I declare Orange Shirt Day in Alberta. It is a day to stand with Indigenous people by wearing orange and talking about our responsibility to past, present and future generations. I encourage you to join people across the province by wearing orange and talking about reconciliation. We have the power as strong and free Albertans to practise tolerance and understanding this day and throughout the year.”