Orange Shirt Day - September 30th
This day honours those who were taken from their homes and placed in residential schools around Canada. These schools forced Metis, Inuit, and First Nations children to disconnect from their culture and assimilate into Canadian society. It is important for the reconciliation process for the individuals and families that were affected by the residential schools.
September 30th? This was the time of year children were taken from their homes to the residential schools.
Orange? Phyllis Webstad, a former student and creator of orange shirt day, left for her first day at the residential school in her new orange shirt given to her by her grandmother. When she arrived, they took her brand new shirt away from her.
See below for what you can do:
Say something. Do something.
“Say something. Do something…”
... these words were spoken by Abigail (not her real name), a survivor of the residential school system. Simple words that express so much pain and hope.
“Say something. Do something… because…
“I ran away from the residential school when I was 14. I travelled 2 weeks on the road in the middle of winter, begging food and shelter on the way. When I got home, I was afraid my mother would send me back. She looked at me and said:” I love you; you’re not going back.”
“I was nine years old and forced to pray on my knees all night next to my bed for something I had done wrong, I don’t even remember what it was. All I remember was waking up in the morning with my head on my mattress.” “One day two of my friends ran away… we never saw them again”
“On the second floor of the Spanish Residential School were Visitors Rooms. There were two. One for the elite visitors like the government and church officials, and another room for our parents and family. Even in the school our lives were segregated.”
“Three times a year (Christmas, Easter and Summer) we were sent home to see our families. Some had no family to visit and stayed in the school. I remember walking to the bus taking us away and, seeing a small hand under an open window sash, slowly waving goodbye. I cried.”
“On our Reserve we still can’t drink the water without boiling it first.”
“Every family on our Reserve has experienced the tragedy of suicide and addiction”
In July, I (Michel David, International Counsellor and JPIC Team Leader, OFS Canada) participated in a three-day Spiritual Retreat at the Anishinaabe Spiritual Centre in Espanola, Ontario (Spanish is a town in the province of Ontario, located on Trans-Canada Highway 17 in the Algoma District near the border of the Sudbury District). The retreat had been organized by Kateri Native Ministry (Ottawa). Approximately 20 of us met around a Sacred Fire. We came in solidarity from as far as Akwesasne in Québec, Hamilton in Southern Ontario, and the upper Great Lake lands. We came to listen, share, pray, and remember the children who died at the Spanish Residential School less than an hour away.
“The Canadian Historical Association, which represents 650 professional historians from across the country, including the main experts on the long history of violence and dispossession Indigenous peoples experienced in what is today Canada, recognizes that this history fully warrants our use of the word genocide……”
Download this issue here: April Issue of the JPIC Communiqué
Indigenous health care
How would you react if you faced…?
Long waiting lists, lack of doctors and nurses, costs not covered by your Health Benefits, and no transportation? These are the main challenges to health care facing Indigenous people. When specialized treatment is needed, a patient has to endure a long journey to southern-based hospitals and leave behind families and support network for an extended period of time. Living in an urban centre is not much better for Indigenous people as they constantly face racism and discrimination. The rates of Indigenous people being admitted to hospitals and accessing emergency shelters are much higher than the general population.
Public Health Care Services… available to all?
Indigenous children do not always have the same access to services as non-Indigenous children because different levels of government fund different services for Indigenous children, especially those living on-reserve. Jordan River Anderson, for example, from Norway House Cree Nation in Manitoba was caught in one Editors Note: Until the National Chapter of Election in May 2022, the National OFS JPIC Team will be focusing on the issues faced by the Indigenous people in Canada. Subsequent Communiqués are not meant to be thorough, but to invite Secular Franciscans in Canada to deepen their understanding of their Indigenous brothers and sisters....
Continued right column...
...OFS Canada JPIC Communiqué JPIC of these payment disputes. The federal and provincial governments could not agree on who should pay for his home-based care. Jordan stayed in the hospital until he passed away at the age of 5. Since then, to honour Jordan, Jordan’s Principle was created: it is a child-first principle that aims to eliminate service inequities and delays for First Nations children. Jordan’s Principle states that any public service ordinarily available to all other children must be made available to First Nations children without delay or denial.
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