On Monday September 27th, OPSEU/SEFPO’s Indigenous Circle hosted a virtual forum to commemorate the first National Day for Truth and Reconciliation and Orange Shirt Day.
The virtual forum created the space and platform for OPSEU/SEFPO members to learn, listen and commit themselves to the ongoing journey we each must take in the path to truth and reconciliation.
MPP Sol Mamakwa, one of the speakers that evening spoke on the intergenerational impact of residential schools and poignantly shared his own journey as a survivor of residential school. Mamakwa also spoke about what we need to do to continue to push all levels of governments and addressing a “system that isn’t broken but working as it was intended.”
Members also learned more about the powerful story of Phyllis Webstad and her Orange Shirt.
In addition, multi-award-winning Indigenous author, educator and artist Dr. Jenny Kay Dupuis shared her family’s truths that led her to co-write ‘I Am Not a Number’, a best-selling children’s book about her granny’s experience at a residential school in Ontario in 1928. Dr. Dupuis discussed the importance of documenting history but also why it was important to make it available for all ages, especially children. Her book has been written in English, French and Nishnaabemwin (Ojibwe). The same Nbisiing dialect if spoken during that time, was seen as a punishable act of defiance. Today, Jenny feels that she has reclaimed her community’s language in a small way through her book.
To learn more about Orange Shirt Day or support initiatives please see below: