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District of Tofino: National Day for Truth and Reconciliation
TOFINO, B.C. – The District of Tofino is committed to truth and reconciliation and recognizes the essential work of supporting a journey of reconciliation with Tla-o-qui-aht, Ahousaht, and Hesquiaht First Nations, to repair, foster, and strengthen the relationships between First Nations and non-First Nation peoples.
As part of this commitment, and following the Federal Government’s lead, the District of Tofino (District) will be observing September 30 as the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation. During the September 30 statutory holiday, the District office will be closed, and staff are encouraged to continue to expand their education as part of their individual reconciliation efforts.
Tofino Mayor Dan Law
“District staff, Council and I remain committed to reconciliation and working collectively to amend the colonial legacy of residential schools. On September 30, I encourage all community members to listen to those who’ve chosen to share their residential school stories, understand the truth of our shared history and commit to working together to right historical wrongs.”
National Day for Truth and Reconciliation builds on the grassroots movement “Orange Shirt Day”, providing an opportunity for public commemoration of the history and lasting impact of the Canada’s Indian Residential School system inflicted on Indigenous peoples.
This year in Tofino, the ‘Orange Shirt Day – Indian Residential School Rally’ is being led by the survivors of former Residential Schools with support from Nora Martin, the Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council, and the District of Tofino. Community members on the West Coast are invited to gather, reflect and mark the day in a meaningful way.
Orange Shirt Day
Orange Shirt Day was created by Phyllis Webstad. In 1973, at age six, she was sent to St. Joseph Mission residential school in Williams Lake, excited to wear her new orange shirt. Her shirt was taken from her and she never saw it again. This emotionally damaging act made her feel as if she did not matter. Phyllis shared her story in 2013, using the symbolism of the orange shirt and the words ‘Every Child Matters’ in her awareness campaign.
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