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Canadians encouraged to participate in National Day for Truth and Reconciliation

Today marks the second National Day for Truth and Reconciliation in Canada, and people and organizations across the country are being encouraged to acknowledge the day by hosting activities and educational events that honour the First Nations people of Canada who survived the residential school system as well as those children who did not return home from residential schools.

People can honour the day by wearing orange, the official colour of the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, and organizations can support the day by hosting educational activities using resources from the Government of Canada’s website.

During the first National Day for Truth and Reconciliation in 2021, OMNI Health Care long-term care homes hosted events that involved residents and staff members.

For example, West Lake Terrace hosted an all-day event that included introducing residents to traditional First Nations foods and holding an information session focused on the traditions and customs of the Indigenous Peoples of Canada.

The event also featured a video presentation that included an interview with a residential school survivor.

Everyone was also asked to wear orange, a colour that has important significance.

In 1973, Phyllis Webstad, a then-six-year-old First Nations student from British Columbia, had an orange shirt taken from her by teachers at the residential school she attended.

In addition to today being the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, it’s also Orange Shirt Day, which was first acknowledged on Sept. 30, 2013, to raise awareness of the injustices First Nations, Inuit and Métis people faced in residential schools.

Orange has been designated as the colour of remembrance for the children who didn’t return home from residential schools.

“The orange shirt is a symbol of the stripping away of culture, freedom and self-esteem experienced by Indigenous children over generations,” the Government of Canada says on its website.

“On September 30, we encourage all Canadians to wear orange to honour the thousands of Survivors of residential schools.”

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PHOTO CAPTION: Pictured above, West Lake Terrace team members wear orange shirts during the first National Day for Truth and Reconciliation on Sept. 30, 2021.

National Day for Truth and Reconciliation events well received by West Lake residents

Staff provided presentations and traditional First Nations food to everyone Sept. 30 in honour of the day

West Lake Terrace residents are expressing their gratitude to the Prince Edward County long-term care home’s staff members for hosting events in recognition of the first National Day for Truth and Reconciliation on Sept. 30.

The National Day for Truth and Reconciliation honours the people of Canada’s First Nations who survived the residential school system. The day also serves as a reminder of the children who did not return home from residential schools.

As part of the day, West Lake Terrace residents were introduced to contemporary and traditional First Nations food and attended information sessions focused on First Nations traditions and culture.

Residents enjoyed a lunch that featured three sisters soup, which contains squash, corn and beans, as well as fried tacos and sweetened bannock with berries for dessert.

Life enrichment co-ordinator Janie Denard and life enrichment aide Elaine Goheen delivered a presentation to residents about First Nations cultural traditions that included videos of dancing and powwows.

The video presentation also featured an interview with a residential school survivor.

Residents say they enjoyed the food and the presentations.

Resident Doris Woodall says she was “thankful to be able to taste and experience some traditional Indigenous food.”

Another resident, Shirley Ball, thanked Janie and Elaine for their presentation, noting “it was a good learning experience for me.”

In fact, the day brought back some fond memories for Shirley, whose husband was of Mohawk ancestry, Janie notes.

“She said they used to do smudging in their house and that it was great to think about those times she spent with her husband,” Janie says.

Smudging is a rite practised by many First Nations communities. During a smudging ceremony, smoke from burning sacred plants, such as cedar, sage, sweetgrass and tobacco, is used for purification.

The day was also informative for West Lake Terrace staff members, Janie notes.

“They were very supportive; they thought it was a great idea that we involved the residents in honouring this day,” she says.

Before changing the name to the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, Sept. 30 was called Orange Shirt Day.

The colour orange has significance. In 1973, Phyllis Webstad, a then-six-year-old First Nations student from B.C., had an orange shirt taken from her by teachers at the residential school she attended.

Orange Shirt Day was first acknowledged on Sept. 30, 2013, to raise awareness of the injustices First Nations, Inuit and Métis people faced in residential schools.

Orange has been designated as the colour of remembrance of the children who didn’t return home from residential schools.

Residents and staff members were encouraged to wear orange shirts in recognition of National Day for Truth and Reconciliation. Nearly all staff members wore orange shirts, Janie says.

“Staff members across all shifts participated and wore their orange shirts and were very supportive of the day,” Janie says.

If you have a story you would like to share with The OMNIway, please contact the newsroom at deron(at)axiomnews.com.

If you have feedback on this story, please contact the newsroom at deron(at)axiomnews.com.

West Lake commemorating National Day for Truth and Reconciliation with events and presentations

‘This is going to be a good learning day for everybody’

In honour of the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, West Lake Terrace is dedicating today to both celebrating the contributions First Nations communities make to Canada as well as raising awareness of the issues Indigenous Peoples face in this country.

Life enrichment co-ordinator Janie Denard and administrator Darlene Copegog-Hamilton came up with the idea to raise awareness of the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation for the Prince Edward County long-term care home’s residents and staff members.

For lunch, residents will be served a mix of contemporary and traditional First Nations food including three sisters soup, which contains squash, corn and beans, as well as fried tacos and sweetened bannock with berries for dessert.

The home’s display case is featuring photos highlighting aspects of First Nations culture such as hoop dancing and powwows. Also in the display case are a traditional medicine pouch and a pair of moccasins owned by RAI co-ordinator Amy Harper from when she was a baby as well as a pair that belonged to her daughter.

Given that there are First Nations residents and staff members at West Lake Terrace, the day also celebrates diversity at the home, Janie says.

Before changing the name to the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, Sept. 30 was called Orange Shirt Day.

The colour orange has significance. In 1973, Phyllis Webstad, a then-six-year-old First Nations student from B.C., had an orange shirt taken from her by teachers at the residential school she attended.

Orange Shirt Day was first acknowledged on Sept. 30, 2013, to raise awareness of the injustices First Nations, Inuit and Métis people faced in residential schools.

Orange has been designated as the colour of remembrance of the children who didn’t return home from residential schools.

Canada’s former residential school system has been a major issue this year after more than 1,300 graves were found near the sites of former residential schools in Western Canada this summer.

While this discovery sent shockwaves across the country, it also highlighted in bold print the mistreatment the people of Canada’s First Nations faced during the era of the residential school system.

“It’s really important to include the residents and to raise awareness about some of the issues (affecting the First Nations people) in our community and in our country,” Janie tells The OMNIway.

“With the recent discovery of the graves in the residential school system, we thought it was important to bring this to light and to give the residents some opportunity to talk about it and to learn from it.”

To show solidarity with the people of Canada’s First Nations, West Lake Terrace residents and staff members are being encouraged to wear orange shirts today.

The West Lake Terrace team has also hoisted an Every Child Matters flag outside the home.

In the afternoon, Darlene is going to deliver a presentation to residents focused on the First Nations of Canada. Janie is going to show residents YouTube videos highlighting First Nations culture and explain some of the many traditions celebrated by Indigenous Peoples.

“This is going to be a good learning day for everybody,” Janie says.

If you have a story you would like to share with The OMNIway, please contact the newsroom at deron(at)axiomnews.com.

If you have feedback on this story, please contact the newsroom at deron(at)axiomnews.com.