National Day for Truth and Reconciliation 2023
Each year, September 30th marks National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, also known as Orange Shirt Day. This day serves as a reminder of the history endured by Indigenous communities in Canada. Orange Shirt Day honours those who were sent away to residential schools and highlights an ongoing journey towards reconciliation. This day holds deep significance and is a testament to the strength and resilience of Indigenous Peoples.
Orange Shirt Day is a legacy of the St. Joseph Mission (SJM) Residential School (1891-1981) Commemoration Project and Reunion events that took place in Williams Lake, BC, Canada, in May 2013. Spearheaded by Esketemc (Alkali Lake) Chief Fred Robbins, who is a former student himself, this project brought together former students and their families from the Secwepemc, Tsilhqot’in, Southernn Dakelh, and St’at’imc Nations along with the Cariboo Regional District, mayors and municipalities, school districts, and civic organizations in the Cariboo region.
The events were designed to commemorate the residential school experience, honour the healing journey of the survivors and their families, and reaffirm the commitment of ongoing reconciliation. Chief Justice Murray Sinclair, who played a pivotal role in Canada’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission, challenges all the participants to keep the reconciliation process alive.
Orange Shirt Day is a legacy of this project. As a spokesperson for the reunion group leading up to the events, former student Phyllis (Jack) Webstad tells her story of her first day at residential school when her shiny new orange shirt, bought by her grandmother, was taken from her as a six-year-old girl. Her shirt being taken away, symbolizes the loss of her identity, culture, and innocence.
Babcock recognizes Orange Shirt Day as an occasion to honor those who were sent away to residential schools and their families and communities. At Babcock, we know that Every Child Matters and we vow to never forget the pain endured by those who suffered in residential schools.
Reconciliation is a shared responsibility, and the path forward requires continuous education, truth-sharing, and awareness-spreading. Babcock Canada is committed to implementing the spirit and intent of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Call to Action #92 and we will strive to be a leader in Indigenous relations in Canada’s aerospace, defence, marine, and nuclear sectors.
As part of Babcock’s commitment to building meaningful and mutually beneficial relationships with Indigenous communities, we are proud to support the 2023 South Island Powwow, in Victoria B.C. The annual South Island Powwow is an opportunity to recognize Survivors and their families in the spirit of reconciliation.