Every Child Matters
Every Child Matters
Today and every day we honour all of the survivors, intergenerational survivors, and all of the children who did not make it back home.
FNHIC-BC honours National Day for Truth and Reconciliation on Sept. 30, a day to honour the lost children and survivors of residential "schools", their families and communities. We use quotations around the word, because it is quite inaccurate to call these horrific institutions schools. They were not really schools, they were places of torture designed to destroy our people.
Just over a year ago, on June 3, 2021, Bill C-5 received Royal Assent and Sept. 30 was officially designated as National Day for Truth and Reconciliation. Since 2013, we have honoured this day as Orange Shirt Day because of the experience of Phyllis Webstad, a Northern Secwpemc (Shuswap) woman from the Stswecem'c Xgat'tem First Nation. On her first day at residential "school", Phyllis arrived dressed in a new orange shirt, which was then taken from her, representing a loss of culture, respect and freedoms. We honour all the children and survivors by wearing our orange shirts on this very important day.
At FNHIC, we strongly believe that the journey of reconciliation and decolonization starts within each individual, committing ourselves to building a brighter future. FNHIC-BC remains committed to eliminating and eradicating those policies and programs that persist and continue to harm Indigenous peoples. This includes the important role of housing and infrastructure in supporting First Nations health, well-being, economic development, and self-determination. We also believe that reconciliation is not simply a one day event. This work is ongoing and requires us to continually work to dismantle oppressive settler colonial structures that continue to keep our people down, while simultaneously returning to our Indigenous ways and revitalizing our relationships with the earth and waters.
We still have a long way to go. Together, we can mend relationships and rebuild trust. Together we remember the children who never came home. Together, we can build a path towards a better future for all Indigenous peoples and all our relations. Together, we honour Survivors, their families, and communities, and we recognize the history and legacy of these cruel places that were meant to eradicate us. Every single Indigenous person is in some way impacted by this legacy. It has hurt us all, whether it was our grandmothers, our parents or our cousins who were taken. The forced removal of our languages, cultures and lands has harmed us all. Today and every day, we are working to change this awful colonial legacy, and to build a brighter future for our children and all our relations.
Much love to you all on this very special day.
All my relations.
For those who may need counseling, the IRSSS Indian Residential School Crisis Line is available 24/7 to provide support.
Indian Residential Schools Survivors Society
Within B.C., the KUU-US Crisis Line is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
1-800-588-8717 or online at: kuu-uscrisisline.com
Learn more at:
Photos: The FNHIC-BC team proudly wearing our orange shirts!