Today is Orange Shirt Day, and the City of Timmins is encouraging people to participate in the hopes of spreading education and awareness. The Timmins Native Friendship Centre will also be hosting its 5th annual walk, beginning at their location on Kirby from 11am to 1pm.
Orange Shirt Day is an outcome of the St. Joseph Mission Residential School Commemoration Project and Reunion events that took place in Williams Lake, BC in May 2013. It stems from a story told by former residential school student Phyllis Webstad.

Phyllis’ orange shirt is a symbol of so many losses experienced by those who were sent to Indian Residential Schools over several generations. Losses of family, culture, language, freedom, parenting, self-esteem and worth were experienced by everyone. Beatings, sexual abuse and neglect plagued many.
Mayor George Pirie was joined this afternoon for an official proclamation, and city employees are being encouraged to wear orange in show of solidarity on this path to reconciliation.

“It is very meaningful to acknowledge this part of our past and educate others,” said Mayor Pirie. “This is something that affected those who attended these schools, their families and all generations to follow. This legacy of shame needs to be acknowledged in order for us to move forward, and truly, the most powerful force in this world is forgiveness.”

Over 150,000 First Nations, Inuit and Metis children between the ages of four and 16 years old attended the Indian Residential Schools identified within the Indian Residential School Settlement Agreement.

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