Orange Shirt Day at Aurora was sombre and emotional. September 30 saw Aurora shining a light on part of our country’s dark past. Spiritual Counsellor Kevin Koroscil delivered a moving presentation about Residential Schools in Canada and the intergenerational traumatic legacy that many Indigenous people still suffer.
Aurora Staff Observed Orange T-Shirt Day With Specially-Made Shirts
The staff team and some members respectfully wore specially-made orange t-shirts in recognition of the important day. The beautiful design bore the slogan “Every Child Matters.”
Each year, Orange Shirt Day brings more awareness and education to Canadians about this aspect of our history. Those who have suffered from the dislocation and traumatic residue bravely share their lived experience.
Aurora’s Executive Assistant, Tracy Falk, shared how she was emotionally impacted by Kevin’s presentation.
“I knew about the residential schools and the impact that it made, but I did not know until that presentation that children were actually pulled from their homes, and parents witnessed their children fleeing to get away. The mental image that brings up impacted me pretty hard. Kevin mentioned 6 or 7-year-old children, and I have grandchildren that age. How terrified they would be if strangers came to take them away.”
Aurora member, Kyle, related his thoughts and feelings, “It was impactful, learning about my heritage. I think this information should be more widespread. It’s a matter that should be addressed more publicly because it’s atrocious what happened. It has been swept under the rug too often.“
Orange Shirt Day Inspired by Residential School Survivor
With a deeply moving presentation, Kevin explained the history of how the Orange Shirt Day came to be, inspired by residential school survivor Phyllis Jack Webstad in 2013, who shared her story at the St. Joseph Mission Residential School Commemoration Project in Williams Lake, B.C. At that event, Webstad recounted the devastation when, on her first day at the residential school, authorities snatched the new orange shirt her grandmother had given her. Their actions meant one more tie to her home and family was severed.
Residential schools existed for 168 years, from 1828 to 1996. Many survivors are still living today. September 30 was historically the time when Indigenous children were taken from their homes and brought to the residential schools. So, each year, we honour them by donning orange shirts and promoting education of the atrocities.
Aurora Recovery Centre Privileged to Support Survivors and Their Families
Here at Aurora, we have had the privilege of supporting and treating many survivors and their children and grandchildren. We bear witness to the all-encompassing negative impact these policies have through succeeding generations.
In our member’s recovery journeys, we are inspired by the strength, courage and efforts they make to heal, grow, recover, and stand for justice and truth.
We encourage you to learn more. If you wish to support Orange Shirt Day, please have a look at the Facebook page of the local company that supplied our shirts this year, Red Road Clothing.