Sept. 23, 2022

Orange Shirt Day Sept. 30 honours residential school survivors

UCalgary and Calgary Public Library host joint events
orange shirt day

Sept. 30 is the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, or Orange Shirt Day. Since 2013, Orange Shirt Day has been dedicated to honouring the many Indigenous children who lost their lives in Canada’s residential school system, as well as the survivors who bravely share their stories today. It became a statutory federal holiday in 2021.

UCalgary’s Office of Indigenous Engagement and Calgary Public Library (CPL) have joined forces to mark the day with programming that brings together art and open discussion with the theme, Every Child Matters.

A panel focused on the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s 94 Calls to Action and related current events will take place in person and as a livestreamed event at UCalgary’s Rozsa Centre. The panel will feature Dr. Cora Voyageur, PhD, professor in UCalgary’s Faculty of Arts; cultural adviser Lee Crowchild, former chief of the Tsuut’ina First Nation; and Kathleen Mahoney, professor emerita in UCalgary’s Faculty of Law who was chief negotiator for the Assembly of First Nations for the Indian Residential School Settlement Agreement.

Also, Elder Reg Crowshoe, Hon. LLD’01, will provide an opening prayer and CPL Chief Executive Officer Sarah Meilleur, BA’01, will provide remarks. The discussion, moderated by Dr. Michael Hart, UCalgary’s vice-provost (Indigenous engagement), will touch on the impact of recently discovered unmarked graves at residential school sites, Pope Francis’s visit to Canada this past summer, and what reconciliation looks like moving forward. 

A screening of Danis Goulet’s Night Raiders will also take place on Sept. 30. The film follows the journey of a mother trying to rescue her daughter from a state-run institution in a dystopic sci-fi future. The movie, which mimics Canada’s dark history of forced assimilation of Indigenous Peoples, will play at the Patricia A. Whelan Performance Hall at the Calgary Central Library.

Both events can be attended in person, as well as online. Audiences are encouraged to wear orange in support of Orange Shirt Day and to signify a visible commitment to reconciliation. 

UCalgary’s involvement in the National Day ties in with its Indigenous Strategy, ii’ taa’poh’to’p, which aims to show that, while Canada’s legacy of discrimination and abuse of Indigenous Peoples may still linger, through respect and reconciliation we can aspire to become a nation where Every Child Matters.

Event details:

Afternoon panel discussion 

12 – 1:30 p.m., Rosza Centre, UCalgary, and online 

Join UCalgary’s Office of Indigenous Engagement in partnership with CPL for a panel discussion with Cora Voyageur, Lee Crowchild and Kathleen Mahoney, revisiting the final report on Truth and Reconciliation in light of the discovery of unmarked graves on residential school sites, the 2022 papal visit and the path forward.

This panel will be moderated by Michael Hart, with an opening prayer by Reg Crowshoe and remarks from Sarah Meilleur. 

Register to attend the event in person

Register to watch the event live online

Evening film screening 

6:30 – 9 p.m., Patricia A. Whelan Performance Hall, Calgary Central Library, and online

Presented by Calgary Public Library in partnership with UCalgary’s Office of Indigenous Engagement, join us for a free viewing of the dystopian sci-fi film Night Raiders, with special remarks from Sarah Meilleur and Michael Hart. 

Register to attend the event in person

Register to watch the event live online

ii’ taa’poh’to’p, the University of Calgary’s Indigenous Strategy, is a commitment to deep evolutionary transformation by reimagining ways of knowing, doing, connecting and being. Walking parallel paths together, “in a good way,” UCalgary is moving toward genuine reconciliation and Indigenization.