On Friday, September 30, at 9 a.m., the Municipality of Grey Highlands raised an “Every Child Matters” flag to half-mast at the municipal administrative office to honour victims and survivors and recognize the ongoing impacts of Canada’s residential school system.
The flag will be raised for two weeks to demonstrate Grey Highlands’ commitment to reconciliation and affirm that every child matters.
“We understand that these actions are the start of significant work that needs to be done on the relationship with our Indigenous brothers and sisters. We should strive to continue looking for meaningful ways in which we can include Indigenous voices in our municipal decision-making,” says Deputy Mayor Aakash Desai.
Also known as Orange Shirt Day, September 30 is designed to commemorate the residential school experience, witness, and honour the healing journey of the survivors and their families and commit to the ongoing process of reconciliation.
Following the flag raising, at 9:30 a.m. in front of the municipal office, Grey Highlands Public Library’s Children’s Librarian Michelle Campbell read The Train by Jodie Callaghan, a children’s story about a young girl who meets her great-uncle by old train tracks near their home in Novia Scotia. He tells her about the history of the train that took him and the other children from the reserve to residential schools and what they experienced there.
“Through storytelling and education, we can help children learn from a young age about reconciliation efforts and the history of Canada and how many Indigenous communities and families were forever changed because of residential schools, the last one which was closed in 1996,” says Jennifer Murley, Grey Highlands Public Library CEO/Chief Librarian. “The Library has additional stories and resources about reconciliation and the residential school system for card holders.”
For more information on Orange Shirt Day, visit www.orangeshirtday.org/.