Irwin Law is committed to reconciliation. On this, the first National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, we honour the children and families affected by the Indian Residential School system and by the ongoing legacy of colonialism in Canada.
Thursday, September 30 is Orange Shirt Day and the first National Day for Truth and Reconciliation. This day is to honour both the Indian Residential School survivors and the many children who died because of this system. The staff at Irwin Law urges all Canadians to use this day to learn more about what happened at Indian Residential Schools. A good place to start is with the 2012 report by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada, They Came for the Children, along with the commission’s Final Report.
Equally as important is learning about Orange Shirt Day, which is a grassroots campaign started by Esketemc (Alkali Lake) Chief Fred Robbins, a residential school survivor. This campaign chose the date of September 30 because it is the time of year when children were taken from their homes to live in residential schools, as recently as the 1990s. The creators of Orange Shirt Day ask that, on this day, we listen to the stories of survivors and their families, and to remember and honour those who didn’t survive the legacy of Canadian colonialism.
Although the residential schools no longer operate, a huge percentage of Indigenous children continue to be separated from their families. As settlers, we need to work to recognize and deconstruct the ongoing systems of colonialism and oppression that continue to affect Indigenous peoples in Canada to this day. Irwin Law honours today as a reminder of the damage that has been and continues to be done by colonialism here in Ontario, across Canada, and around the world.