Students, faculty, and staff pose in their “Every Child Matters” t-shirts outside the Sacred Arbor at Cambrian College.
SUDBURY – “Every Child Matters” is the theme for Orange Shirt Day, which honours the survivors of Canada’s residential school system, and remembers those
children who did not return home.
Orange Shirt Day is held every September 30th. It is being commemorated this week at Cambrian College. Events included teachings on residential schools, an information booth, and a group photo today in the college’s Sacred Arbor. Over 700 orange t-shirts have been given out to mark the occasion.
The Orange Shirt Day events were led by the Wabnode Centre for Indigenous Services, the Cambrian Indigenous Student Circle, and Cambrian’s Schools of Justice, Community Services and General Studies.
Martina Osawamick is an elder at Wabnode. She is also known as Nokomis, or Grandmother, and is from the Wiikwemkoong Unceded Territory on Manitoulin Island, southwest of Sudbury. From the age of 5 to 12, she attended the St. Joseph’s Girls Residential School in the community of Spanish, 115 kilometres west of Sudbury.
“Orange Shirt Day is important because people need to know what happened at residential schools. Children died there. I lost my childhood and language there. There were many painful memories for me that required a lot of healing. But Orange Shirt Day also celebrates the resilience of residential school survivors. It is important to remember our past while we look forward to what lies ahead in our future.”
This week’s events at Cambrian commemorate the residential school experience, witness and honour the healing journey of the survivors and their families, and commit people to the ongoing process of truth and reconciliation.
“I feel honoured to be part of this,” says Matthew Peltier, President of the Cambrian Indigenous Student Circle, who is also from the Wiikwemkoong Unceded Territory. Matthew designed the logo for Cambrian’s orange shirt campaign. “Orange Shirt Day is a day to remember the residential schools for Indigenous children of North America who have endured wrongs. It is about learning and engaging in this day of remembrance for the survivor generation and the generations afterward affected by the implication of these schools. As part of Canada’s history with Indigenous Peoples, to wear an orange shirt is to acknowledge what was taken forcibly, to honour their endurance, to preserve their Indigenous culture.”
This is the third year Cambrian College has been participating in Orange Shirt Day.
As part of its efforts to foster truth and reconciliation, Cambrian College has been been increasing the amount of Indigenous learning in its academic programs. Cambrian offers courses in Truth and Reconciliation, Powwow Culture, Indigenous Perspectives on Care (in Health Sciences), and Introduction to Indigenous Studies.
Cambrian has also introduced this year a new program, Social Services Worker – Indigenous Specialization.
This past summer, Cambrian College also ratified its Indigenous Education Protocol, which commits the college to:
- Integrate Indigenous education into Cambrian’s academic programming
- Provide ongoing education to faculty and staff on Indigenous culture, traditions, and history
- Acknowledge the Calls to Action outlined by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada
- Provide cultural, academic, and counselling support to Indigenous learners
- Strengthen relationships and accountability with Indigenous communities
For more information on Orange Shirt Day and events taking part across the country, visit http://www.orangeshirtday.org.
For more information about Cambrian College, www.cambriancollege.ca.
705-566-8101, extension 6302