Cornwall, Ontario – CDSBEO Orange Shirt Day was an opportunity for the board to honour the “Calls to Action” of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission in a meaningful, age-appropriate way that is respectful to both survivors, intergenerationally traumatized students and to the truth of Canadian history. For the second year during the month of September, schools from across the CDSBEO unpacked curriculum to learn about the impact of residential schools in Canada, while making connections to the Board theme which focuses on kindness, love and empathy.
Marian Lawson MacDonald and Scott Stoqua, Indigenous Education Leads with the Board, presented information on how Orange Shirt Day was recognized in CDSBEO schools. September 30, 2019 marked the 7th Annual Orange Shirt Day in Canada. The orange shirt represents the story of Phyllis Webstad, who had her new orange shirt taken from her when she arrived at a residential school. “Phyllis Webstad is just one person; however, she represents thousands of children who went to residential schools,” began Lawson MacDonald. “We tell her story as a way of capturing the injustice of our Canadian history as well as the need for all of us to work toward reconciliation.”
“Although this is technically one day, we spend the month of September providing support for schools to honour this day in a meaningful way. We began by offering two workshops about Orange Shirt Day at the Learning Fair in August, and by distributing t-shirts to participants,” noted Stoqua.