Sep 30, 2022

By Christine Ross

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Ceremonies are being held across the country to reflect on Canada’s history with Indigenous people.

Speaking at National Day of Truth and Reconciliation ceremony in Niagara Falls, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau retold the story of how the orange shirt came to symbolize the forced assimilation of Indigenous children in residential schools. He recounted how Phyllis Webstad was stripped of her clothes her first day of residential school at six years old.

“Her orange shirt was taken away from her, she asked for it back, but was denied, her joy was taken from her and so was a part of her home and the opportunity to express herself, it symbolized the pain of residential schools, the way Indigenous children were stripped of their culture, their language, their connections to their families.”

Phyllis, now 55, was in attendance while the Prime Minister spoke.

Phyllis Webstad

She didn’t wear orange clothing again until 2013 when she retold her story during a commemoration ceremony.

Governor General Mary Simon says September 30th is a day to celebrate the renewed relationship between Indigenous People and Canadians.

Simon — the first Indigenous person to hold the post — welcomed schoolchildren and their staff to Rideau Hall in Ottawa.

In Toronto, a crowd gathered at Nathan Phillips square for events, where a group performed traditional Indigenous songs and dances.

Premier Doug Ford unveiled a garden at Queen’s Park meant to recognize the continuing treaty relationship between the Crown and Indigenous Peoples.

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