By Jessica Cooper, Corporate Services Assistant; St. John’s office
September 30th of each year has been declared Orange Shirt Day. We are encouraged to wear orange in recognition of the harm inflicted by the residential school system and to show
our support for the survivors. In Nova Scotia, it is followed by Treaty Day (October 1st) and Mi’kmaq History Month in October.
Orange Shirt Day is the legacy of the St. Joseph Mission Residential School (1891-1981) Commemoration Project. The name comes from a residential school survivor Phyllis Webstad’s story of a shiny orange shirt that had been bought for her by her grandmother and how it had been taken from her as a six year old child when she arrived on her first day at St. Joseph Mission Residential School. Residential Schools were open in Canada from 1831 to 1996, an estimated 150,000 children were forced to attend and an estimated 6,000 children died as a result of the abuses that they were subjected to. The intergenerational trauma of the residential school system can still be seen today and will be seen for generations to come.
For more information check out: https://www.orangeshirtday.org/
The documentary, “We were Children” gives a survivor driven narrative. It is not easy to watch but is an important part of our history.
Treaty Day is celebrated in Nova Scotia on October 1st. It promotes Indigenous awareness by highlighting the Peace and Friendship Treaties that were between the Federal Government
and Indigenous Peoples in the 1700s. These treaties established the fishing and hunting rights of the Mi’kmaq peoples and the right to follow their spiritual beliefs and did not involve
giving up their land.
Mi’kmaq History Month begins on Treaty Day and continues for the month of October. It is celebrated to educate Nova Scotians on the history and culture of the Mi’kmaq Peoples.
For more information check out: https://mikmaqhistorymonth.ca/about/