The public commemoration of Sept. 30 is the first, most vital part of the reconciliation process, says Caitlyn Kaltwasser.
Thursday, Sept. 30, which is already recognized as Orange Shirt Day, is a new federal statutory holiday, National Day for Truth and Reconciliation.
The City of Timmins has proclaimed Thursday, Sept. 30 as Orange Shirt Day.
The official proclamation took place at the Timmins Native Friendship Centre (TNFC) Tuesday morning.
“Everybody knows what the orange shirt means,” Mayor George Pirie told a small group of people gathered at the centre. “I firmly believe we’re moving in the right direction in terms of the reconciliation process, and this is a huge part of it."
Orange Shirt Day was inspired by Phyllis Webstad's story. Webstad was six years old when she arrived at a residential school and had her orange shirt taken away. She never wore that shirt again.
TNFC worker Kaltwasser said people from all backgrounds are uniting across Canada to honour residential school survivors.
“We can all do our part to honour the resilience and the strength of every residential school attendant in Canada,” she said. “We can honour them by wearing an orange T-shirt, learning more about the history of Canada, educating those around us and healing from the past.”
Thursday, Sept. 30, the friendship centre will be holding the seventh annual Orange Shirt Day walk. The event will start with an opening song and prayer at 11 a.m. at the centre.
Orange shirts, while supplies last, will be available for those in attendance for the event.