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News Review
Intergenerational Healing Key Part of Orange Shirt Day
Posted Date: 9/13/2017
Orange Shirt Day features multi-generational speakers to demonstrate the intergenerational impacts of residential schools and reconciliation. 

The focus of this event is to continue the dialogue on the effects of the residential school system and move forward as a community. An important part of this message is that the impacts of the residential school system have trickled down from each generation and continue to have consequences for Indigenous youth today. Ryleigh Grant-Turner, an Indigenous high school student at Charles Spencer High School and Andrea Deleeuw, an Indigenous young professional working at the Friendship Centre share their thoughts on these intergenerational impacts. 

Both young women speak to witnessing the effects that the residential school systems had on past generations in their families. Due to a lack of knowledge and teaching on the subject, however, they were unable to vocalize these issues. Deleeuw recalls, “I would see these things but didn’t have the background history of how these things came to be.” For Grant-Turner, she felt pushback in the classroom as her non-Indigenous peers felt no consequences of intergenerational trauma and did not understand how it could still impact people today. 

Moving forward, the women believe youth today have a major role in the healing and reconciliation process. Each agree that teaching younger generations of all backgrounds on the history of residential schools, Indigenous culture and acceptance is vital to building a brighter future. Grant-Turner explains, “Real change is going to be with younger generations- that we believe each other, think of each other as equals and respect all cultures.” Deleeuw further stresses the importance of understanding current forms of colonization and taking action against injustice because it is a right that the children in residential schools had taken away from them. 

Reconciliation is a community process, and Grant-Turner and Deleeuw mutually noted the importance of events such as Orange Shirt Day for providing an education on the residential school system. Grant-Turner elaborates, “Events like Orange Shirt Day are very important to raise awareness and show that we’re here and we still feel effects.” The significance of the community collaboration for the event was highlighted by Deleeuw, “I appreciate that Orange Shirt Day is an event that everyone works together for from City officials to grassroots organizations to elders.”

Event Details 
Orange Shirt Day takes place on Saturday, September 30 from 1:00 p.m.- 5:00 p.m. at the Mamawe Concourse at Montrose Cultural Centre.

Many activities are scheduled throughout the day including a smudging ceremony and opening prayer by an elder; 3 inter-generational orators; children and youth dancers; traditional cultural sharing elements such as drum-making and beading; interactive family activities including a trivia game, children’s crafts and bannock making; and much more.

Full details of the event are available here.

Orange Shirt Day 2017 Poster