REGINA – Joining with communities across the country, schools throughout the province will again be officially recognizing “Orange Shirt Day” on Thursday, Sept. 30, as requested annually by the Saskatchewan School Boards Association (SSBA).
Sept. 30 has also been proclaimed federally as the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation. In recognition of this National Day of remembrance for the victims of the residential school system, the SSBA is encouraging all schools in the province to observe a moment of silence.
“On behalf of our 27 member boards of education, the SSBA is encouraging school communities, and all residents of the province, to participate in Orange Shirt Day by wearing orange, taking the time to reflect on residential schools this Thursday and observing a moment of silence,” said Dr. Shawn Davidson, SSBA president. “Especially considering the heartbreaking confirmations of unmarked graves we’ve witnessed this year, this day represents an opportunity for each one of us to think about residential schools, expand our understanding of this history and commit to growing together through education toward reconciliation.”
Orange Shirt Day is part of a larger movement in the country to provide opportunity to unite in a spirit of reconciliation and hope for future generations. The movement is a legacy of the St. Joseph Mission residential school commemoration event held in B.C. in 2013, emerging out of the account of a young girl having her new orange shirt taken away on her first day of school.
The day was first proclaimed in Saskatchewan in 2016, in response to a resolution passed by the province’s trustees at the SSBA Spring General Assembly. The Government of Saskatchewan proclaims the day each year at the SSBA’s request.
“Orange Shirt Day provides an important opportunity for school communities to come together in the spirit of reconciliation,” Education Minister Dustin Duncan said. “It’s important to acknowledge the lasting impact of residential schools on our communities and commit to learning more about the history of residential schools in order to build stronger communities that are inclusive and safe for all.”