On Saturday, we honoured Orange Shirt Day. Many people will not be working on Monday, as it’s considered a statutory holiday. It’s more of a day of observation or reflection — like Remembrance Day, Nov. 11.
I know they are different, but I often compare Nov. 11 and Sept. 30 when it comes to observing them, the respect in the families we honour and how to speak of it.
There are some people who may not participate in Remembrance Day events, and may not take a moment of silence, but most people will offer respect for those who do.
This is something I expect to see with Orange Shirt Day.
Each year, Orange Shirt Day gains more exposure, and more people start to observe it.
I wouldn’t be surprised if most news stories regarding Orange Shirt Day don’t allow online comments. Each time I write about residential schools, my inbox fills with messages from conspiracy theorists, history deniers and people saying enough is enough.
I’ve always said publicly that people have the right to their opinions, and they do. In many of these messages, people ask me to provide details, facts and figures to “prove” to them what happened.
It is not my role to dispute conspiracy theories, or to try and change the mind of a skeptic.
I think there are more people who stand with residential school survivors and their families. Often the loudest voices don’t come from the majority.
With this weekend being a time of reflection, and sorrow for many people, I encourage you to stand with the survivors when you hear people denouncing them.
I can’t imagine how it would feel to experience residential schools, being torn from your family and raised without parents, your language and culture.
It must be so traumatizing for people to hear this dark part of Canadian history included in the same category as chemtrails, shapeshifting reptilian people living underground, government mind control, and flat Earth theories.
This is not the only tragedy that gets lumped into conspiracy theories. Tragedies such as the Sandy Hook shooting, the Holocaust and JFK assassination have also become fodder for deniers.
I am not telling people they need to change their thoughts, but to be respectful to families who lost their children and had their lives destroyed.
If you support residential school survivors, I encourage you to wear an orange shirt, and I encourage you to stand with survivors and share it publicly. Let’s try and make this Orange Shirt Day feel a little bit more safe for the families affected.
I am vocal that I stand with, support and honour residential school survivors.
In this past year, I have been able to learn more about my ancestors and biological family.
My maternal grandmother attended Holy Angels Residential School in Fort Chipewyan and my paternal grandmother attended St. Joseph’s School for Girls in Spanish, Ontario.
I always knew as an Indigenous person that my relatives would have experienced residential school. I feel strongly that being a part of the Sixties Scoop is one of the cumulative affects of residential schools.
I am not saying that I wish I wasn’t adopted, but I know the path I have travelled is a result of residential schools.
Every Indigenous person is directly affected by residential schools.
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