We have lost one of Canada’s greatest advocates for Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, and Accessibility with the passing last week of Canadian author, poet, and activist Lee Maracle. One of the first indigenous authors to publish her work, she will remain in our hearts and her legacy will continue to guide us. On behalf of the Library board, staff, and volunteers, I would like to extend our deepest condolences at this sad time.
Lee Maracle is the author of a number of critically acclaimed works including Ravensong, Bobbi Lee Indian Rebel, Daughters Are Forever, Celia’s Song (longlisted for CBC Canada Reads and a finalist for the ReLit Award), I Am Woman, First Wives Club, Talking to the Diaspora, Memory Serves: Oratories, and My Conversations with Canadians, which was a finalist for the 2018 Toronto Book Award and the First Nation Communities READ 2018-19 Award, and continues to be a nonfiction bestseller. She is also the co-editor of the award-winning My Home as I Remember. Her latest book, Hope Matters, is a poetry collection she wrote in collaboration with her daughters, Columpa Bobb and Tania Carter. Maracle has served as Distinguished Visiting Scholar at the University of Toronto, the University of Waterloo, and the University of Western Washington. Maracle received the J.T. Stewart Award, the Premier’s Award for Excellence in the Arts, the Blue Metropolis Festival First Peoples Prize, the Harbourfront Festival Prize, and the Anne Green Award. Maracle received an Honorary Doctor of Letters from St. Thomas University, is a recipient of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal and is an Officer of the Order of Canada. In July 2019, she was announced as a finalist of the prestigious Neustadt Prize, popularly known as the American Nobel. A member of the Sto:lo Nation, Maracle most recently lived in Toronto and taught at the University of Toronto.
The information above is shared with the permission of Book*hug Press.
With the holiday season upon us, it’s a great time of year to tap into your creative side, whether you’re crafting handmade gifts, making seasonal cards, DIY-ing festive decor, or hacking your holiday lighting. At our next Virtual Maker Meetup program on November 30 we’ll be chatting about these projects, so be sure to register!
Gifts from the Heart
A handmade gift is extra special because you’ve chosen to put your time into creating something no one else can give. What’s more, you don’t have to worry about the global supply chain woes and the potential lack of availability of store-bought gifts.
Librarian Justine wanted to make a personal gift this holiday season. She took a photo of her husband's favourite place, traced the silhouette and cut it out with the vinyl cutter in our Springdale Branch Library MakerSpace. She used some tips from Creativebug to paint a star-lit sky with watercolours, placed the vinyl cut on top and now has a beautiful nighttime vinyl painting! Using our equipment she has turned a beloved photo into a unique gift for any occasion. Justine is in the process of making more watercolour paintings using MakerSpace tools and a variety of materials to share at our November Virtual Maker Meetup.
South Fletcher’s Branch Library always delights with its fun and creative book return designs. A few years ago, the branch featured a “Charlie Brown Christmas” theme. I was inspired to add an interactive element with the help of a MaKey MaKey, so that when an item passed through, a random sound clip from the movie played. You can read the full blog post on how I created it here.
I also love to use the MaKey MaKey to hack holiday string lights. Last year, I wired my holiday wreath to light up when someone stepped on my doormat. This year I’m attempting a more challenging lighting project with Arduino, Neopixels, and cheerlights. I’ll share my progress at our November Virtual Maker Meetup.
Need some more inspiration?
Look no further than our fantastic lineup of eResources. PressReaderoffers an array of craft and hobby magazines where you’ll find seasonal projects and tutorials for all types of makers. Mollie Makes out of the UK is one of my favourites. Did you know you can download free project templates and printables? Check out this card I made with one of the paper patterns from the November issue of Mollie Makes and a Cricut Maker.
O’Reilly, the newest platform on our Digital Library, also has seasonal projects for the technically-inclined. Learn how to make an Internet-controllable Christmas tree or program a digital holiday card.
And of course, CreativeBughas online classes on a wide range of holiday projects in all sorts of mediums delivered by professional creators. With a daily ornament challenge to deck out your home, and brilliant gift wrap ideas to make your presents pop, you’ll find countless ways to flex your creative skills and make this season special.
Twelve Days of Creativity Giveaway
You’ll want to mark your calendars for this one! Starting December 1, we’re decking the halls with our Twelve Days of Creativity Giveaway. To join the festivities, head over to Brampton Library’s Facebook page and discover our daily Creativebug class feature. Whether you’re starting to explore your creativity, itching for a new project, or looking for a DIY gift idea, get inspired as you learn about artisan chocolate-making, knitting a winter beanie, creating natural skincare, and more incredible projects!
What’s more, participation has its perks! Here’s how you can enter for your chance to win a Cricut Maker Champagne.
Like, comment, and tag a friend on any post featuring a Creativebug class between December 1 and 12, inclusive, to earn an entry ballot. Make sure you have a Brampton Library card and follow Brampton Library on Facebook.
The winner will be announced on Brampton Library’s Facebook page on December 13.
If you’re new to Creativebug, we encourage you to check it out under E-Learning in our Digital Library. All you need is your library card to get started.
Halloween has always been my favourite day of the year! The DIY costumes, incredible artistry of pumpkin carving, the brisk weather with its crunchy leaves, and the treats! With Halloween just around the corner, here are some great new picture books to get you into the Halloween spirit:
You can also stream family-friendly movies on Kanopy for free with your Brampton Library card or enjoy a special Halloween Virtual Storytime with Harmeen to be released on October 26th. Or Check out the City of Brampton's Fright Nights. Enjoy spooktacular Halloween events with your family and friends, on October 16, 22, 23, & 29 from 5-8 pm.
It’s Treaties Recognition Week here in Ontario. At Brampton Library, we believe it's our responsibility as an organization to continue to listen to and learn about the truth of our history with Indigenous peoples in Canada as we actively seek reconciliation. As your public library, it's our privilege to offer resources that foster understanding and respectful conversation about treaties as a crucial part of our past as well as our present and future.
What is Treaties Recognition Week?
The first week of every November is set aside to recognize and honour the importance of treaties made with Indigenous peoples. It's an opportunity to learn about treaties and how they’ve shaped our history as well as the significant role they continue to have in the lives of Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples today.
Treaties Recognition Week offers another vital chance to listen, learn, and commit to finding pathways to reconciliation in true partnership with Indigenous, Inuit, and Métis people.
What are treaties?
Treaties are legally binding agreements created to establish relationships between Indigenous peoples and governments, and they affect everyone. How they have been honoured — and frequently dishonoured — has set the tone and terms of relationships with Indigenous people.
Three important things to know about treaties:
Treaties are law. There are many treaties in Canada, and they can vary substantially by their terms, their history, the nation(s) affected, and their consequences.
We are all treaty people. In Canada, we all live on land shaped by agreements made by governments with Indigenous peoples. Most things we do are shaped by treaties, including driving, working, hiking, fishing, and buying a house. Treaties govern part of our relationship together with Indigenous peoples. We have a collective responsibility to honour treaties and respect the original inhabitants of this land. We can do this by learning about treaties, listening to Indigenous perspectives, and respectfully asking questions.
Learning treaty history is a vital part of truth and reconciliation. Truth and reconciliation is about pursuing what's best for everybody. We recognize that we need to build a community founded on the principle of respect for all people and the land we share.
Which Indigenous nations lived in the area that is now Brampton?
The area on which Brampton is situated is known to have been home to Indigenous people including the Huron-Wendat, Haudenosaunee, and Anishinaabe, including the Mississauga.
What treaty territory is Brampton in?
Brampton is part of Treaty 19, also called the Ajetance Purchase. The land on which Brampton is built was purchased by the British colonial government from James Ajetance, chief of the Mississaugas of the Credit, on October 28, 1818. In exchange for 2,622 square kilometres of land, the Mississaugas of the Credit were supposed to receive 522 pounds and 10 shillings in goods every year (roughly equivalent to over $500,000 in today's currency). You can learn more about the history of Brampton from the Canadian Encyclopedia.
Understanding Indigenous words in Brampton
The history of Indigenous people in Canada is all around us in Brampton, found in the names of places, organizations, and streets. Here’s some information about a few found around the city.
Chinguacousy (area of Brampton): Anishinaabemowin language, Chippewa Ojibwe dialect; according to a Government of Canada website, the name "commemorates Shingwaukonse[,] a prominent Anishinaabe leader who took part in the capture of Fort Michilimackinac during the War of 1812. His name translates to little pine." (Stories from the Land: Indigenous Place Names, Government of Canada)
Mississauga (City of Mississauga) Anishinaabemowin language, Ojibwe dialect, "River of Many Mouths."
Orenda (Orenda Rd., Orenda Ct.): A Wendat word that refers to the Iroquois belief in spiritual energy inherent in all people and the environment to varying degrees.
Manitou (Manitou Park): Anishinaabemowin language, "spirit." The life force that exists everywhere and in everything (similar to "orenda").
Conestoga (Conestoga Dr.): Believed to be an Iroquois term for the Conestoga people who originated in what is now Pennsylvania. The meaning is said to be "people of the cabin pole."
Algoma (Algoma College): A place name appearing across Canada and the US, the precise origin and meaning of the word is unclear, but all proposed definitions agree it originates from Indigenous languages.
If movies are more your thing, check out Kanopy's selection of Indigenous study films, or you can check out Mango Languages Indigenous language courses, all of which are available with your library card.
We can listen to Indigenous people willing to share their experiences and perspectives.
Throughout the month of September, Brampton Library youth volunteers have focused on Truth and Reconciliation issues. They have read books, watched films, and discussed the tragedies that have occurred. We are grateful for their passion and commitment and pleased to share their opinions here:
Orange shirt day is a recurring day that comes up every year, recognizing the brutal things that have been done at Residential Schools and the Indigenous community. Starting from the story of Phyllis Webstad, a 6 year old girl who wanted to go to school to make friends. She and her grandma went to the town to get her new clothes to wear, which was a shiny orange shirt to her first day of school. Then the day came and upon arriving at the school her new shirt and all her belongings were taken away and never given back. Now this orange shirt symbolizes the suffering of the kids that had to go through residential schools and help us recognize that pain that had been endured during those times, through this day we call Orange Shirt Day.
During school we usually only touch the surface upon the topic of Orange Shirt Day talking upon the history of residential schools and the sort of stuff that would be done to the young kids going to those schools. Though after this worldwide pandemic and having to stay home most of the time. Social media has really been my only outlet in learning new things upon different cultures and their identities, and I sure did. People like Shina Nova who on her social media platforms talks upon the culture, history that had been forgotten, and hardships upon the Indigenous community. Moreover coming from that background she really does talk from the heart and makes it very insightful for the people looking at her content. It really taught me a lot about their deep roots in their culture and the truth upon the different acts that happen upon their community in Canada.
Written by Adiba Hoque
Picture being extracted from your home and staying somewhere far away from your parents, your culture, and your community. Envision going against your will, and being punished because of your identity. Well, this was a sad reality for more than 200,000 Inuit, Metis and Aboriginal childrens, who were placed in Residential Schools. Residential Schools are Canada’s dark past and hidden truth that has never been taught in history classes. In Canada before the 19th century, the Indigenous people had their own way of teaching, also known as organic education. Just like our culture being passed down to us through our descendants. Same applied to Indigenous youth, they believed that organic education kept their culture alive and instilled in the future generations. This is because Indigenous children were taught about their customs and culture first hand. The Europeans looked at First Nation peoples as an interference between industrial expansion, Due to which a residential education system was established. Although students study minimally about Residential Schools today, many don’t know the specifics of why they were created. After the Indian Act was established in 1876, first schools were opened which brought thousands of attendees from across the country. Our objective was to continue until there is not a single Indian in Canada, who had not been absorbed into Canada’s heritage. To achieve this goal of assimilating First Nations into Canadian Society, children were forcibly removed from their culture and put into one of the hundred and thirty harsh, boarding-type schools. As we know these schools were extremely abusive and harsh, that left long-lasting scars and trauma for many. From violence to abuse to cutting family relations and to abandoning native language has disrupted countless lives. Killing the language of the Aboriginals led to an end to their culture. The Aboriginal childrens were forced to speak English, not the language they spoke with their parents. It is true that it took Canada 10 years to close the doors for the last residential school for childrens. There is no way we can give back to the survivors of Indian Residential School and their families, however, we need to give these communities a chance to regain their culture and traditions. The Canadian government established the Truth and Reconciliation Day, also known as Orange shirt day to do so. It recently became a statutory holiday that is recognized every year, on September 30th after the shocking discovery of numerous unmarked graves. This is a way to acknowledge the silent genocide we have done for past centuries. We as a country need to be more transparent about Residential Schools and how we as a country failed to protect the childrens of the First Nation community profoundly. For generations to come, the full history of Canada’s residential schools, which existed for more than a century will be flattened-out, suppressed and ignored. As a non-Indigenous it hurts to have a hazy idea of “Indian schools,” and the nightmarish abuse many face. It is rarely talked about and absolutely never acknowledged. I utterly think it’s important for kids to learn it in schools and for us to acknowledge it. It’s been a hidden part of our history for quite a very long time. This will create and add a non-filtered layer for young youth to become more emotionally aware.
Written by Harmit Saini
The National day for Truth and Reconciliation, also known as Orange shirt day, is a Canadian statutory holiday that occurs every year, on September 30th. This special day became a statutory holiday in 2021, after the shocking discovery of countless unmarked graves in the sites of former residential schools. It is on this day that we acknowledge the crimes, hardships, struggles, heartaches, abuse, and overall dreadful events that plagued the Indigenous community. Residential schools resulted in what can only be described as a tragic cultural genocide that is permanently imprinted into the dark, covered history of Canada. Moreover, the impact residential schools have had on Indigenous peoples has lasted over a century, and it continues to affect the Indigenous community today. The cultural cleansing that took place and the memories and experiences shared by survivors have forever marked the community. The national day for Truth and Reconciliation is a day in which awareness is brought to this issue, and people are encouraged to wear an orange shirt. Something that has personally stuck with me regarding the national day of Truth and Reconciliation was a statement given to me by my eighth-grade French teacher. My eighth-grade French teacher was a First Nations, and she continued to educate my class on the issues the Indigenous community faced in the past, and the ongoing issues they continue to face. On orange shirt day, she talked about the horrid conditions and constant abuse against children, and she stated, “if you could pass, you would pass.” This meant that whenever an Indigenous person was given the opportunity to pass off as white, they would most likely do so as to prevent themselves from facing further issues and discrimination. My teacher herself had a light skin tone, which she then explained, that upon first glance, no one would assume she was a First Nation. The reason that statement has stuck with me is that I am just heartbroken at the fact that the conditions forced onto the Indigenous community made it so that people would hide their culture from others rather than embrace it. Not to mention the ongoing discrimination against those of Indigenous descent. Additionally, the reserves in which many Indigenous people live also face other ongoing issues, such as crime, unemployment, unsafe water, low income, non-equitable funding, lack of public services, and more. There is no question that the residential schools were an absolute tragedy and only one of the many wrongs done to the Indigenous community; it is now our duty to find and fulfill methods of reconciliation with the Indigenous community.
Written by Ruhaim Ali
Hundreds of unmarked graves are situated all across Canada. The remains of Indigenous children, ruthlessly separated from their families and coerced into attending residential schools centuries ago, continue to be discovered. This horrific method of cultural assimilation, ultimately resulting in the deaths of over 3,200 children, ongoing grief for the Indigenous community, and residual trauma are the tip of the iceberg in reference to the dark history of oppression, discrimination, and neglect that Indigenous peoples have faced, and continue to experience. Commencing with the colonization of their land, followed by the battles to advocate for Indigenous rights and champion equality, social injustice prevails as their community grapples with poverty, unemployment, and more. Not to mention, Indigenous people still struggle to be heard. In previous years, the silence when addressing Indigenous issues has been indicative of ignorance and indifference. Nowadays, the government and non-Indigenous communities are taking responsibility and working alongside one another to reconcile with Indigenous peoples and make amends. Newly proclaimed as a federal statutory holiday, The National Day for Truth and Reconciliation is an opportunity for all Canadians to recognize the wrongs of our past and the devastating legacy of residential schools in particular. This day provides us with a chance to honour Indigenous people and fully comprehend the hardships they have encountered and emerged from stronger. On September 30th, raise awareness, support the Indigenous community by wearing an orange shirt in solidarity, and heal through meaningful, necessary discussion.
Written by Pranavi Kotta
In 1831, the first residential school would open its doors to welcome the indoctrination of Indigenous children and the erasure of their culture. More residential schools would follow suit in the years that followed, with the last one closing its trauma-infected halls in 1996. To think such a tragedy continued on until only about 2 decades ago. An event of this magnitude has left a crater of generational trauma on the Indigenous community, a scar that has yet to fully heal. On September 30th, we remember all the children who have died as a result of the cruelty and corruption of Canada's government and church. On that day, it is imperative we listen to all of the survivors' stories and experiences. It is our responsibility to raise their voices and listen to their plight, which has gone unnoticed for many generations. The recent community outcry emphasizes the importance of listening in order to implement appropriate change. The day is known as Orange Day, named as such after the story of Phyllis (Jack) Webstad. Phyllis had only turned 6 when she went to a mission school. Though they weren’t particularly wealthy, her grandma had bought her a new shirt glistening the colour orange. In that shirt, she felt excited and ready for school. Unfortunately, as we’ve all come to know the true reality of those schools, so did she upon her first day of attendance. On arrival, Phyllis and other children were stripped of their belongings, including her brand new orange shirt. After that incident Phyllis describes her newfound relation to the colour orange, “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.” (Phyllis Wedstad) At this time, orange now signifies the voices of indigenous children gone unheard, but no longer will they stay this way. Oftentimes we are taught a washed-down version of the story. Perhaps because we are too young to handle the severity and horrid reality of the schools, or perhaps we were taught in such a way so this part in our history is seen as less disgusting. Regardless of the reason, it is up to all of us now to educate ourselves by listening to our Indigenous neighbors. Thanks to the internet we have access to all we need to educate ourselves and share our own thoughts and beliefs. On the app Tik Tok alone there are many Indigenous creators who share their experiences, stories, as well as the intricacies of their culture. Such as James Jones (@Notoriouscree), Shina Novalinga (@Shinanova), and Fawn Wood (@Fawn.wood). Now is the time to stand with your neighbors so we can bring change for all of us.
Written byBinaisha Dhillon
The residential schools were a promise made by the Canadian government to the Indigenous peoples, that their children will receive the best care. That despite them being far from home, they would have the finest education possible. This was a lie. Duncan Campbell Scott, a member of the Department of Indian Affairs, said: “I want to get rid of the Indian problem. [...] Our objective is to continue until there is not a single Indian in Canada that has not been absorbed into the body politic and there is no Indian question, and no Indian Department, that is the whole object of this Bill.” Indigenous peoples were always neglected, so much so that for an entire century, from 1883 to 1996, just 25 years ago, they were victims of mass genocide. Despite the fact that Indigenous peoples were the Native peoples of our land, the Canadian government treated and at times, still considers the First Nations population as a burden. In the eyes of Europeans, they were “savages,” due to their culture and ways of living. Because Indigenous peoples' lives revolve around giving back to the land rather than living off of it, they were seen as “lower class.” They have been displaced across the country, then thrown out during wars, and killed in residential schools. In 2008, twelve years following the century-long operation of the residential school system, Prime Minister Stephen Harper issued a formal apology to the First Nations people acknowledging Canada’s involvement in the residential school system. He recognized the great trauma that Indigenous children endured, including emotional, physical, and sexual abuse. Seeing this, Harper formed the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, which presented an opportunity to educate Canada on the harm they inflicted upon the First Nations, and to amend our country’s relation with the Indigenous peoples. Soon after, in 2013, Phyllis Webstad, a First Nation girl that attended residential school when she was six years old, came out about her story. An orange shirt that was gifted by her grandmother was taken away from her at the school, along with everything else that suggested she was a First Nations in order to assimilate her to white culture. September 30 is now a national day for Truth and Reconciliation in remembrance of the residential school system and what Canada has stolen from the Indigenous population, which they are still trying to recover to this day. The truth is, Canada simply has not tried hard enough to reconcile with the First Nations population. The majority of them still live on reserves with no clean water and have been given false and empty promises, Prime Minister by Prime Minister. Change must happen, but we can only do so by educating others. Canadians must amplify the voices of Indigenous peoples and allow their stories to be heard, as well as sharing their culture. The more people that understand the trauma that First Nations have gone through, the more people we have to advocate for their rights and urge the Canadian government to make change. We can bring justice and reconcile with the Indigenous peoples, as long as Canadians are by their side.
Written by Khushi Jamnadas
Residential school survivors still experience feelings of worthlessness and insignificance, the exact feelings that were ingrained in them from the moment they step foot in the building. Even though those horrendous days are over, survivors of residential schools still feel like they don't matter. This is the everlasting impact that residential schools have on survivors. It's why we honor these heroes and should never try to erase such a prominent event from our nation’s history and identity. To ensure that the ongoing legacy of residential schools is never forgotten, we need to be willing to spread awareness and promote discussion on this topic. Every child matters and all cultures should be celebrated. Therefore, it is crucial that we show a genuine interest in Indigenous history and beliefs, and give them an equal amount of respect. Indigenous stories are so rich in morals/teachings that we can apply them to our daily lives, which will make us diverse individuals with new perspectives. The least we can do is educate ourselves on the topic of residential schools, so we can empathize with the survivors and understand what we need to do to support them. Many people believe that residential schools were existent too far back in history for them to care. However, the last residential school closed in 1996 (25 years ago)! This is why some Indigenous survivors are still coping with the trauma, as we begin to erase it from our history! Therefore, it is time that we help our fellow Canadians feel safe and welcomed, and honor Orange Shirt Day with the purest intentions.
Written by Tanvi Seth
September 30 emblems the day when all Canadian residents are instructed to wear orange in order to honour orange shirt day. However, while many follow the recently established tradition, including school children, many are not aware of the deep roots, importance and significance behind this commemorative day. Beginning eight years prior, orange shirt day was chosen to be the day when the implications, intergenerational trauma and lasting impact of Indigneous residential schools are remembered and acknowledged. It was inspired by the residential school, St. Joseph Mission, survivor story of Phyllis (Jack) Webstad whose orange shirt that her grandmother had given was confiscated by catholic church-run authorities as it made Phyllis too excited and happy. Many years after, the legacy of the residential schools lives on as graves of missing Indigenous children were found under the Kamloops Residential School. The first residential school opened its doors in 1883, imposing the start of a new era for the Indigenous communities who rightfully owned the land the building was constructed on. It was run by the Catholic Church and Canadian government as a way to assimilate and convert the Indigneous children into modern settler society. In simple terms, some people refer to this as cultural genocide as children were ripped from their families and forced to live a Christain lifestyle and were severly punished if the rules were not adhered to. Children were not allowed to practice their tradition, speak their language or even keep in touch with their families. Additionally, physical, emotional and sexual harassment was unfortunately common and expected occurrences in the day to day lives of the children. Then came the Sixties Scoop in the 1960s. All these events have concluded in generations scarred by what was done to them by the thieves of their land. It has not been too long since the last residential school officially closed its doors and a lot of progress must be made to truly reconcile what had been done. Despite the fact that the government has offered a formal apology for those put through the residential school experience and compensation, not much has been done in action. A majority of the Indigneous population remain secluded on underfunded reserves that lack basic necessities such as accessible food, clean water and adequate education. Additionally, when the community attempts to live alongside the modern population, they face intense racism and prejudice. This is especially seen in the small city of Thunder Bay which records the highest number of hate and racism reports in Ontario. It is unfortunate that Indigenous social issues are only coming to light upon such a tragic discovery as the discovery of the unmarked remains. However, I think what should be emphasized is the fact that this issue is indeed making mainstream media and has finally begun to have more awareness. No matter how slow, change will inevitably arrive with the contribution of everyone, including us. We can commemorate the national day of truth and reconciliation by becoming an ally to the Indigneous community. This can be done by first identifying the appropriate terms to be used when mentioning the Indigneous community, along with learning the land and treaty acknowledgements. This is simply the beginning. You can additionally support indigenous artists, voices and businesses. We should also strive to ensure that the erasure of history does not occur and we do not fall into the trap of pretending that there is no longer an issue. We must also bring a humble and helping attitude when attending protests. There are also decolonization workshops hosted country-wide. Further information can be found on this website: Kairos Blanket Exercise. We must strive to enforce the five pillars of reconciliation; diversity, inclusion, equality, sustainability and accessibility.
Written by Harsimranjit Nafriaan
September 30th, the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation. Usually when we think of national days and such it feels like a happy thing when really it is sad that this type of thing even exists. Needing a day to recognize the survivors and their families and what First Nations have been through. Things that shouldn't have happened in the first place but sadly did. To think that people thought it was okay for them to take children away from their homes and try to change who they were. What is the point of a world where everyone is the same? There's nothing special about being like everyone else, it is who you are that makes you unique. To think that Residential schools were already too much there was also the things such as the 60s scoop. Children literally got scooped away from their family because someone decided it would be better for them. In some ways, the schools and the scoop succeeded when children no longer could speak their language, take part in traditions, and didn't know things that were basic in their culture. However, you can never change who a person really is, they will always be connected to their roots.Now we recognize all those that have suffered for far too long because of others actions. The ones that survived and the ones that did not. The ones who could never sit together with their family to have a family game night. The ones that could not connect with their traditions like others and the ones who went through things unimaginable. Thus, on September 30th we wear orange.
Written byRabia Ahmad
September 30th, a day marked in orange on our calendars showing us the reality of the land we live on and the people we have taken it from. A day we wear orange to show our support and grief of the lives lost and the pain that’s had to be endured by the Indigenous people. As we happily head back to school in the modern-day, around this time of year first nations were also being ripped away from their families with fake promises of a brighter future. As residential schools began to become more and more common the horrors of what happened within also began to take place.Inside these schools, the conversion of an estimated 150,000 Indigenous youth to Canadian society was brought on by whatever means necessary. Some of these conversion methods were cutting hair, giving new names, stripping them of clothing and giving them new ones, physical abuse as punishment, malnourishment that caused an estimated number of 3,000 deaths. Overall they did anything possible to make these children stray from their indigenous culture. Finally, the schools were put to an end in 1996 as we began to notice the horrible influence and acts that took place inside them. But this chapter in history is not over yet. As millions of Canadians, this year watched in horror at the 218 bodies being uncovered from under the surface of a closed residential school in Kamloops, bringing more recognition to the severity of acts that had taken place in our country’s grim past. It forced us to begin reanalyzing the land we stand on and the people and leaders who came before us. As we put on our orange shirts this year and the years to come we must recognize why we put them on and the history the shirt entails.
Written by Rida Akhtar
Imagine being separated from your Family and Friends at such a young age and put into a Residential School to become accustomed to the Euro - Canadian Culture. Segregated by gender, stripped of your traditional clothing, cutting your hair and having your culture looked down upon. These Government Sponsored Religious Schools have brought disruption in the lives of several Indigenous Communities from the year 1880. The last Residential School (Grollier Hall) had been closed in the year of 1996. That was not long ago! An estimated 150,000 children have attended Residential Schools and over 6,000 have unfortunately passed away. Beginning in 1883, three Residential Schools were built across Canada. Over the next half-century, the federal government developed a system of Residential schools which were mostly placed in the four Western provinces and territories of the country. However, there were many Schools also present in Northwestern Ontario and Northern Quebec. By the year 1930, there were 80 Residential Schools present in Canada. Life in Residential Schools was horrid for several reasons. For instance, tasks were assigned based on Gender. Girls were given the responsibility of Cooking, Cleaning, Laundry and Sewing. On the other hand, boys were given duties such as Carpentry, Construction, General Maintenance, and Agricultural Labour. Along with this, an inadequate amount of education was provided to students in Residential Schools in terms of academics and professional studies. Teachers were unprepared and harsh with students, speaking with them in only English and French which most of the children did not speak. If students went against any of the rules set, they would face severe punishments such as beatings, confinement and/or being chained up.In the year 1990, former students of these Residential Schools demanded the Government and Churches to publicly acknowledge their role in the schools and provide compensation for the immense suffering they had gone through. Soon after, the federal government provided a $1.9 billion compensation package to the survivors. In 2007, the Residential Schools Settlement Agreement was created by the government and churches to provide financial compensation to the former students of Residential Schools.Orange Shirt Day, also known as National Day for Truth and Reconciliation (Created in the year 2013 and is celebrated on September 30) was inspired by Phyllis’s story to educate more and more individuals on Residential Schools in Canada and to honour/remember the loss and experiences of the First Nation, Inuit and Métis children. Now it’s your turn! To help make a difference in the community and to support Indigenous People, you should do the following:
Educate yourself! It is crucial that you learn the history of this day and why it is so important. You can also read through the survivor stories and the agreements that were made by Canada.
Support Indigenous People: Businesses, journals or Community organizations, anything you can do to support will make a big difference.
Donate: Your donation would go towards supporting individuals which feed and shelter Indigenous People.
Anything you do will help! But it is up to me to take a stand to bring a difference to the community.
Written byKhushleen Bawa
National Day for Truth and Reconciliation also called Orange Shirt day is a very important day we all remember occurring on September 30th. There are around 1,300 unmarked graves at the sites of four former residential schools in Western Canada. This shocked many Canadians. In honour of this day, Canadians are encouraged to wear orange shirts. This is the idea of Phyllis Jack Webstad. She herself is a residential school survivor. Residential schools caused great loss to many Indigenous, First Nations, Métis and Inuit cultures across Canada. This contributed to a general loss of language. There are around 80, 000 survivors that survived the horrors and must live with the trauma for the rest of their lives. Additionally, they were stripped away from their own culture and ways. A story from a survivor of a Residential School will break your heart. At just seven years old, a boy named John Jones was sent to Alberni Residential School. He recalls the darkness of the corridors. He remembers the school being uncomfortably cold during the day as well as at night. “A friend told me not to speak my language or talk about tradition because if you do, you will get punished.” he said. Showing how much they were stripped away of their own culture. Their letters were even screened and did not reach home. The Alberni Residential School closed in 1973. John Jones is one of the many survivors sharing their heartbreaking stories and what they experienced. September 30th will always be a day to remember and honour those who suffered these terrifying horrors.
Written by Sanvi Duggal
September 30th is the date of Orange Shirt Day, also known as The National Day for Truth and Reconciliation. This day marks and honours the hundreds of Indigenous children sent to residential schools within Canada. On this day, we are encouraged to learn about these schools and their impact on the lives of Indigenous peoples. Even though a single day is dedicated specifically to this cause, the conversation should never stop here because a single day will never amount to or acknowledge the pain and hardships faced by the Indigenous community. Too many people gloss over the impact of residential schools with the idea that all of this is in the past. We must consider the generational trauma, systemic discrimination, and loss of cultural identity caused by residential schools and past actions. Without uncovering the truth, we cannot reconcile. The Indigenous community are fighting to this day to have their voice heard, and yet their words fall on deaf ears. Orange Shirt Day is not only a day of learning, but of amplification. So yes do read a book, watch a documentary, engage in conversation, but also bring this issue with your community, advocate on social media, donate and work with organizations to raise awareness. It’s time everyone steps in to help do the talking.
Written by Pallavi Ahir
On September 30th Orange shirt day was an opportunity to discuss the impacts of residential schools on the Indigenous community. However, in light of recent discoveries, over 1300 unmarked graves were discovered on the very grounds of residential schools. The stories that Indigenous peoples have been trying to tell, had undeniable proof to what they have suffered. Yet, not all Canadians are aware of the importance of reconciliation, or what it is. Reconciliation with Indigenous peoples starts with the awareness of the effects Canada’s government and colonization had; historical and present. It continues with actively trying to rebuild relations with the Indigenous community, and is a multi step process that will take many years. Many Canadians must be willing to look into our history and share it all; only then can we even start to help the Indigenous community that we have wrongfully mistreated.
Written by Sophia Narayan
Canada prides itself on multiculturalism and anti-discrimination. Today, Canada is a very diverse nation - filled with people from different backgrounds. However, this was not always the case. Canada has a very dark chapter in history that is not often talked about. Residential schools were introduced in Canada in the 1800s, with the goal of assimilating Indigenous children. These children were ruthlessly taken away from their families, they were not allowed to practice their culture or religion, speak their language, or see their parents. These children were emotionally and physically abused and tortured. The final residential school closed in 1996 - only 25 years ago. This is so recent which is why it is so dehumanizing to think about that 25 years ago, only 25, indigenous children were being treated so horribly. And discrimination and injustices are still faced my indigenous communities today. Indigenous people living on reserves still do not have access to clean drinking water, they have limited access to education and jobs, and are targeted more in crime. Thousands of graves across Canada belong to indigenous children who are still unnamed and have not received any justice. Which is why Orange Day is so important. It is a day to acknowledge the injustices done, the harm caused, and to honour and respect indigenous communities. On National Day for Truth and Reconciliation we need to engage in crucial conversations and discussions, spread awareness, and opt for change. Indigenous people deserve justice, equity, and equality.
Written by Yasleen Multani
Each year, Canadians have acknowledged the crimes, injustice and discrimination towards the First Nations of this country through Orange Shirt Day. Although some may not know or have heard about this, Canadian students learn about this each and every year; whether it’s learning about residential schools in Social Studies or having guest speakers tell us about how First Nations were treated, we have all heard of this unbearable issue time and time again. Yet it was this particular year where the injustices that First Nations faced took an even more horrible turn: hundreds of unmarked graves of First Nations children were found across Canada. This brought the genocide of the First Nations under a whole new light, which immensely angered Canadians, as this was never known until now. The fact that these were children was even more unacceptable; all of them should’ve had bright futures and should’ve looked forward to a fulfilling life in a country where their people had all the rights to. But, we all know what happened, and we all know the tragedies that the First Nations wentthrough and are still going through. Thus, the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation was passed and has been made a statutory holiday on September 30th. What initially angered me the most was that the Ontario government refused to declare September 30 as a statutory holiday to honour the residential school survivors, but Peel region did indeed declare it as a holiday, which made up for it. Honestly, I think we need to step up way more for the First Nations of this country, and I think we should demand more for them, as they are the first inhabitants of this whole country. It’s not enough to just acknowledge that we are all on the land of the First Nations everyday, we need to take actual action by fixing their most dire issues; from getting them clean drinking water to getting them the adequate housing they deserve, we need to start doing more. The National Day for Truth and Reconciliation should really be what the name holds and we need to help starting now. As responsible Canadian citizens, we need to start the reconciliation process in any way we can. To ensure justice for all the children that were stolen from their families and those who survived it all, we must wear orange on September 30th and truly recognize the meaning of the day we have dedicated to Truth and Reconciliation.