Mark Clairmont |

MUSKOKA — Expect a wave of orange tomorrow as Canadians coast to coast to coast will be donning shirts for a new federal statutory holiday.

Sept. 30 is already Orange Shirt Day, but this year it will be recognized as the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation.

Schools especially will be ablaze in t-shirts emblazoned with key messaging: ‘Every Child Matters.’

But the shirts have been a common sight all summer and notably these past few weeks.

Many are wearing orange ribbons and masks.

Local First Nations will be holding events.

In Wahta, west of Bala, the public is invited to join band members at the administration office at 12:30 p.m., for a brief ceremony headed up by Chief Blaine Commandent.

He will then lead a three kilometre walk to the cultural centre, where a formal acknowledgment will take place at 2:30 p.m.

At Rama, Chief Ted Williams said their service is at 10 a.m. at the Pow Wow grounds.

But it is not public.

It will mark the opening of a new residential school and ’60s Scoop commemoration park and gardens, he this afternoon.

He said about 20 current band members who were swept up in the scoop will take part in the ceremonies.

“For sure,” said Williams. “They’re going to share their stories with the community.”

The chief said that between 25 and up to 40 of the band’s Indigenous residents were sent to residential schools.

But “they’re no longer with us.”

“It’s an official opening and we’re inviting to community to this commemorative space.”

“It’s Orange Shirt Day and we’ve invited the community to come and celebrate the official opening of this commemorative space.

“This is a place for all of us. …

“For those who have come home. Those who are waiting to come home. And those who never got home and who have gone on to the spirit world.”

“It’s an acknowledgement of the traumatic historical events of the Indian residential schools and ’60s Scoop that took children away from the safety of their families.”

Manuela Kerr and Corey Huggins, of Oro-Medonte, were at the farmers’ market in Gravenhurst and he was sporting an ‘Every Child Matters’ t-shirt in advance of tomorrow’s new federal holiday.


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