Assigning Sept. 30 as a day to commemorate the victims and survivors of the residential schools is the least the federal and provincial governments can do.
But it is a step in the proper direction toward healing.
B.C.’s government announced on Aug. 3 that Sept. 30 will be kept in memory of those Indigenous children who were forced into the schools, on the same day that marks Orange Shirt Day each year.
Phyllis Webstad, from the Stswecem’c Xgat’tem First Nation, started Orange Shirt Day. She attended a residential school as a child where, on her first day, the residential school took away her brand new orange shirt. It intends to remind us, “Every Child Matters.”
What better day to pair the two.
Roughly 13,500 Indigenous people – about 2.6 per cent of Surrey’s population – live in this city. Surrey’s is the fast growing Indigenous population in this province and is expected to surpass that of Vancouver’s sometime this year.
Back in June, the federal government designated Sept. 30 as an annual statutory day to observe the past and enduring damage that residential schools have caused.
Setting aside such a day will hopefully serve as a reminder to all Canadians that while we can’t change the past, we can strive to create a better future. And designating a special day of commemoration each year will help all of us to not forget the work that needs to be done toward reconciliation is indeed a work in progress.