Relatives Indigenous and non-Indigenous alike, meet us in Custer Park at 5:30 pm on September, 30, 2021 as we come together and join our northern relatives from afar in a spirit walk on Orange Shirt Day. A day that aims to honor Residential / Boarding school survivors and remember the children that never made it home.
Harsh racist policies aimed to assimilate and remove Indigenous people from coast to coast and throughout Turtle Island, whether it was the Canadian Indian Act of 1876 or the US Indian Removal Act of 1830. these acts had a profound impact and we’re equally devastating to the Indigenous people of Turtle Island. We’ve been divided by borders but our shared living pain is the same.
We feel that it is always important to acknowledge the birth of a movement and the strong hearts that were at the forefront. That being said, Orange Shirt Day began in Canada in 2013, when Phyllis Webstad (Northern Secwepemc from Stswecem’c Xgat’tem First Nations) shared how the orange shirt her grandmother bought her was taken and how the color orange always reminded her of her first experience in Residential school.
“I went to the Mission for one school year in 1973/1974. I had just turned 6 years old. I lived with my grandmother on the Dog Creek reserve. We never had very much money, but somehow my granny managed to buy me a new outfit to go to the Mission school. I remember going to Robinson’s store and picking out a shiny orange shirt. It had string laced up in front, and was so bright and exciting – just like I felt to be going to school! When I got to the Mission, they stripped me, and took away my clothes, including the orange shirt! I never wore it again. I didn’t understand why they wouldn’t give it back to me, it was mine! The color orange has always reminded me of that and how my feelings didn’t matter, how no one cared and how I felt like I was worth nothing. All of us little children were crying and no one cared.”
Click the link to learn more:
The recent discovery of mass graves being located and uncovered in Canada has ripped open wounds here in the US and brought the movement closer to our hearts and our own backyards. The work has begun, the effort has grown, and the journey for truth and healing will be a long one filled with sorrow and heavy emotion. With truth comes healing and as resilient Indigenous people, we do this heavy lifting because it brings hope and a new level of healing for our loved ones past, present, and future.
Join us in this grassroots initiative to honor survivors, remember the children that never made it home, and celebrate our indigenous youth and the healing they will bring to our future generations. We are in this together, we are better together, and we are strongest together.
Below is a fluid agenda that will evolve and take shape as the day nears.
▪︎7:20 am – Gather at the old Bismarck Indian School (Fraine Barracks) for morning prayer.
▪︎ 5:30 pm – Community feed (Custer Park)
▪︎ 6:00 pm – Opening prayer & Spirit Walk to Capitol (Start at Custer Park)
▪︎ 6:40 pm – Gather at Capitol Steps to hear from speakers
▪︎ 7:30 pm – Honor survivors, acknowledge the youth, end with a round dance
Please consider purchasing an orange shirt at the link below, all proceeds will go towards honoring survivors, the day’s events, and the National Native American Boarding School Healing Coalition.
*** Your health and well being is important to us. We will practice social distancing and ask that you stay home if you’re sick, masks will be available to those who need them.***