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The Gifts Indigenous Culture Holds

My name is Harold Roscher and I am a Cree man who was adopted as a part of the sixties scoop. In spite of those events in my life I have been deeply loved and allowed to flourish. Although my story has been incredibly good, many of my Cree siblings in Christ have not experienced the same blessing.

We are approaching September 30th, Truth and Reconciliation day,  the popular version of the day is known as Orange Shirt Day. The significance of the orange shirt in founder Phylis’s words, “When I got to the Mission, they stripped me, and took away my clothes, including the orange shirt! I never wore it again. I didn’t understand why they wouldn’t give it back to me, it was mine! The color orange has always reminded me of that and how my feelings didn’t matter, how no one cared and how I felt like I was worth nothing. All of us little children were crying and no one cared.” 

If you have ever missed an important birthday of a loved one, you feel the hurt you've caused

Phyllis Webstad is Northern Secwpemc (Shuswap) from the Stswecem’c Xgat’tem First Nation (Canoe Creek Indian Band)  This will be the second year for the commemoration  of Truth and Reconciliation Day a national day of remembering that is now held on Orange Shirt Day. 

I have been asked by people, “why do we have to have a separate day for remembering  the harms endured by thousands of Indigenous kids? Just get over it!”  If you have ever missed an important birthday of a loved one, you feel the hurt you've caused by not acknowledging the loved ones special day. 

Let your gentleness be evident to all!

Now imagine missing every birthday, anniversary, school play, and holiday.  Your life would be poorer.  Well for me the journey of Orange Shirt Day is about recognizing Indigenous people period.  Our collective life in Canada is poorer for missing the gifts of Indigenous peoples.  If you stop to take time to reflect on and see the many gifts Indigenous culture holds, we all can begin to move past the brokenness of the strained relationship we hold with each other. 

We all need to create a common story so we can build on a stronger foundation of  our own learning about the world we live in. Orange shirt day for me becomes about educating myself and others about our Canadian history. Strengthening our collective capacity to focus on all our relations. That we may seek to find “whatever is true, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—to think about such things. Let your gentleness be evident to all!”


For more reflections for National Truth and Reconciliation check out the Do Justice podcast.

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