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Orange Shirt Day Friday, September 28

September 17, 2018

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Why do we wear orange on Orange Shirt Day?  Please take a few minutes to watch these short videos from http://www.orangeshirtday.org​:

A video detailing the story of the Orange Shirt

A report from the Cariboo about Orange Shirt Day​

History of Orange Shirt Day (not a video -- PDF document)

We commemorate Orange Shirt Day at NES on Friday. September 28 – Orange Shirt Day is Sunday, September 30.​

This is the "Principal's Perspective" from the October 2017 Newsletter:

September 30 is Orange Shirt Day, a day we remember the 150 000 Indigenous children who were placed into the Indian residential school system from pre-1876 until 1996.  We remember those who survived their experiences of residential schooling, and we remember the tragedy of the ​6000 Indigenous children who did not survive.  The residential school system harmed Indigenous children significantly by removing them from their families, depriving them of their ancestral languages, and exposing them to physical and sexual abuse.

The legacy of the residential school system continues in Indigenous communities today.  Generations of adults in Indigenous communities were raised in a school system meant to minimize the role of their families' histories, values, traditions, and cultures.  Increased levels of post-traumatic stress, alcoholism, substance abuse, and suicide in Indigenous communities can be linked to this legacy.

Prime Minister Harper apologized on behalf of the government for residential schools.  He called the Truth and Reconciliation Commission a cornerstone of the apology, saying it presented "a unique opportunity to educate all Canadians on the Indian Residential Schools system." The National Narrative on Reconciliation Report found that, in British Columbia, 66% of Indigenous Peoples and 48% of Non-Indigenous Canadians felt there was great need for reconciliation.  When you include those who felt that there was a moderate need, 83% of Indigenous Peoples and 78% of Non-Indigenous Canadians identified some level of need for reconciliation.

So, where do we start?  At Nicholson Elementary, it starts with Habit 5: Seek First to Understand, and then to be Understood.  Until we embed an understanding of residential schooling and its ongoing legacy in our heads and hearts we cannot, in the words of Justice Murray Sinclair, "create and sustain a change in the attitude of all Canadians to the nature of the relationship that must exist between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people in this country."

It starts with stories, celebrations, commemorations, and age-appropriate experiences.  Residential schooling is a difficult aspect of our history.  As [former] Governor-General David Johnston said, though, "the truths we hear will become part of the effort to foster healing and reconciliation within Canada."​