Remember Me: A National Day of Remembrance
• September 30th •
Parliament Hill, Ottawa • Opening Ceremony
Spirit Walk • Wellington Street
Activities • Confederation Park
An annual gathering to remember Indigenous children & families affected by the Indian Residential Schools and all Indigenous child apprehension programs.
Calling all Grandmothers, Mothers, Aunties and Daughters
To Lead the Spirit Walk
"Orange shirts and ribbon skirts, moccasins and a feather,
women and the spirits of our ancestors, all walking together."
Opening Ceremony • Moment of Silence
To Confederation Park
Music • Presentations • Activities
we always knew they were buried there
but no one would listen; our secret kept safe from Canadians.
'Remember Me: A National Day of Remembrance' initiative was birthed immediately after the discovery of the massive unmarked grave of 215 Indigenous children at the Kamloops Residential School in British Columbia. Since writing this, the number of unmarked graves has risen above 1300.
We prepare now for more discoveries, the excavation of the little ones and brace ourselves for two thousand more.
These developments coincide with the federal government’s decision to establish a statutory holiday on September 30th.
This day must be preserved as a national day of awareness and remembrance.
1,311+ Indigenous children discovered buried in unmarked graves (as of June 26, 2021).
Child Apprehension in Canada
Indigenous child apprehension and assimilation is defined as carefully planned programming by church and state with the common goal of eradicating Indigenous cultures.
Child apprehension programs include, but are not limited to:
Residential Schools (children 3 and up),
Sixties Scoop apprehension of newborns (hospitals and cradles) and the filtering of children into foster care after biased assessments of inadequate parenting, grandparenting, living environments, etc.,
Incarceration (non-conforming students, teens and young adults),
AIM Program (Adopt an Indian or Métis), newspaper ads selling children to Canadians as healthy, strong and compliant ‘helpers’ for your housework or farm work.
Consequences: Devastating interruption of womens capacity to nurture.
Child apprehension programs resulted in the destruction of relationships between:
- Indigenous people and government,
- Indigenous people and church,
- Indigenous people and schools,
- Indigenous people and law enforcement,
- Indigenous people and the entire Canadian population,
- Indigenous people and their own communities and families.
Canada’s Indigenous people carry pain, anger and a deep sense of sadness. It is rooted in our bellies and has festered for more than a hundred years. We feed grief to our children - unintentionally, unknowingly.
Our families are in eternal states of sadness, and suffer from a tragic sense of inequality.
Women and their capacity for nurturing and protecting family has been devastatingly interrupted.
Unpacking: ‘a national day of truth and reconciliation’.
September 30th is known as Orange Shirt Day.
Orange Shirt Day is a legacy of the St. Joseph Mission (SJM) Residential School (1891-1981) Commemoration Project and Reunion events that took place in Williams Lake, BC, Canada, in May 2013. Orange Shirt Day is the vision of Alkali Lake Chief Fred Robbins, a survivor of residential school.
The Orange Shirt represents the story of Phyllis (Jack) Webstad who, on her first day at residential school, had her bright new orange shirt taken away from her. It was given to her by her grandmother, she was six years old.
September 30th has quickly become part of the curriculum in our public and separate school boards, churches and organizations. In 2020 it is estimated that over 15,000 teachers and over 600,000 students acknowledged September 30 as Orange Shirt Day.
‘A national day of truth and reconciliation’ is a term adopted from the work of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. The commission was initiated as a result of a survivor court settlement and paid for with $60-million from church and state.
Statutory Holiday Fails
Imagine Orange Shirt Day as statutory holiday.
September 30th has now been coined by the federal government as, ‘a national day of truth and reconciliation’. This term is unlikely to get the same attention from educators and educational institutions as Orange Shirt Day has for the past 6 years. As a statutory holiday, children will not be in school.
- Awareness projects will be less visible to Canadian families,
- Images of Canada’s little ones in Orange Shirts will disappear from educational networks and mainstream media,
- Curriculum previously addressed on September 30th will cease to be presented to children and families in schools,
- Many Canadians will consider the paid vacation day as an end of summer celebration,
- ‘Day of remembrance’ will not be acknowledged.
Re-Imagining: ‘a national day of truth and reconciliation’.
We must push forward with preserving the awareness & educational proponents of Orange Shirt Day.
Orange Shirt Day is already an established remembrance day in Indigenous communities and educational circles across the country.
Continuing on the theme of Orange Shirt Day, educators will continue to recognize and promote education and healing.
September 30th vs. Remembrance Day
November 11th is a day to remember our veterans and is filled with etiquette and protocols.
We propose that September 30th hold the same respects:
- National opening address and prayer on Parliament Hill,
- History of residential schools and child apprehension programs,
- History and meaning of Orange Shirt Day and the Truth and Reconciliation Commission,
- Moment of silence across Canada at 11am,
- Traditional song, drumming and cultural ceremonies,
- The wearing of Orange Shirts,
- Lowering flags to half mast across the nation,
- Creating spaces for public and private ceremony,
- Freedom to unobstructed marches, walks and vigils,
- Creating educational spaces and events in lieu of regular school day,
- Making spaces for public events of cultural significance across Canada.
A National event
"Orange shirts and ribbon skirts,
moccasins and a feather,
women and the spirits of our ancestors,
all walking together."
Official Press Release
Mutually beneficial partnerships and humble donations.
We retain the determination to preserve Orange Shirt Day and intend to develop protocols that will respect September 30th as ‘a day of truth and reconciliation’.
Remember Me is intended to be an inclusive, annual day of remembrance that will meaningfully honour the dead, the survivors, the families and communities that grieve. It is also a day to show unity in our efforts to bridge the gap between Canadians and Indigenous people; it is an opportunity to embrace diversity and promote equality. Above all, it will encourage dialog, active citizenship and social responsibility in our youth.
We are hoping for mutually beneficial partnerships as well as humble donations from businesses and people that will honour the purpose of the day. With a focus on healing, we will not able to accommodate any presentations or marketing that does not serve to promote the mental and spiritual health of our families and communities.
Honoured to be working beside
"With our eyes on the future, we are now working with the Indigenous Arts Collective of Canada, a non-profit organization led by Indigenous women, to support commemoration activities, awareness raising and learning event that will take place on September 30, National Truth and Reconciliation Day. Because art has this power to unite, to act on consciences, to join hearts and minds."
FORMER GOVERNOR GENERAL OF CANADA AND FORMER SECRETARY GENERAL OF LA FRANCOPHONIE
The MJF will help us with the youth and arts components of September 30th. We are very excited to use those dollars to support presentations by:
We know that community gatherings create strong relationships
and strong relationships create communities.
We also know that healthy communities are happier communities.
We have an opportunity to facilitate healing; to acknowedge our past and love our future.
Join us and become part of the reconciliation movement.
Respecting the land and the people
While Ottawa is home for many different Indigenous nations, we all acknowledge that we will be having this event on the unceeded and unsurrendered land of the Algonquin people.
Much effort has gone into safety, protocols and communications with the Algonquins. We are honoured to have Claudette Commanda as our Elder for opening ceremony on Parliament Hill .
Every penny from the sale of awareness products will be contributed to Remember Me: A National Day of Remembrance. SAFETY: To make the day a monumental one, we will need to provide the public with sanitary stations, hand sanitizer, masks, tables and chairs, toilets, water.....WE NEED PARTNERS AND YOU CAN HELP.
Little Broken Orange Hearts. Aa generous fundraiser led by Crystal Blue, glass artist from Glassemotions.com. Little comfort stones are meant to create awareness and generate funds that will contribute to supporting Remember Me: A National Day of Remembrance for victims, survivors and families of Indian residential schools and all survivors of Indigenous child apprehension programs. We are very grateful to Crystal.
This initiative presented by Indigenous Arts Collective of Canada