Why the College of Health Sciences wears orange

29 September 2022

As our University prepares to close on September 30th in observance of the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, members of the College of Health Sciences are wearing orange in honour and remembrance of “the experiences and loss of the thousands of children who were stolen from their families and placed in Indian Residential Schools (IRS).”

We wear orange in recognition of this cultural genocide, and to commit to playing our part in speaking the truth as we work toward reconciliation.

Greta Cummings wearing an orange shirt Greta Cummings wearing an orange shirt

“I wear orange because one legacy of residentials schools and colonial policies is the ongoing systemic inequalities that conspire to create worse health outcomes for Indigenous people and communities in Canada. I recommit to the ongoing journey of systemic change to address these inequalities – in all of our institutions, but in particular in our healthcare system and our University.”

Shanthi Johnson wearing an orange shirt

“I wear orange because every child matters. I wear orange to recognize the importance of traditional Indigenous knowledge and public health research to address health disparities facing Indigenous children and families. I wear orange to acknowledge that we need to do more than wear orange to right the historic and contemporary wrongs. I wear orange as a pledge to play an active and deliberate role to learn from our past, challenge and change the present, and to create a just, equitable, and resilient healthy future for all.”

Tammy Hopper wearing an orange shirt

“I wear the orange shirt to honour the children who survived the residential school system, to remember those who did not, and to show support for reconciliation with Indigenous Peoples of Canada.”

Kyra Pyke wearing an orange shirt

“I wear orange to acknowledge the loss and trauma caused by residential schools and to express a commitment to ongoing learning and action towards a positive way forward.”

Christine Hughes wearing an orange shirt

“I wear orange to remember the long-term and devastating impacts of the residential school system on Indigenous children and their families and to honour them. It is a time to reflect on this legacy and our response to the TRC calls to action.”

Diane Kunyk wearing an orange shirt

“I wear this orange shirt to raise awareness of the residential school experience of so many indigenous children and families. My orange shirt is a commitment to reconciliation and to building a better future for all.”

Shannon Scott wearing an orange shirt

“I wear an Orange Shirt to recognize the tragic legacy of residential schools — the missing children, their families who were forever affected and the survivors of residential schools.”

Brenda Hemmelgarn wearing an orange shirt

“I wear orange to honour the lives of the thousands of families destroyed by the residential school system and to recognize the intergenerational trauma that has been born out of the systemic racism endured by the Indigenous Peoples of Canada. By wearing orange today, I demonstrate my commitment to reconciliation — as a health-care professional and an academic leader.”

The University will be closed for regular operations and there will be no classes on Friday, September 30, 2022, in observance of the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation.

Learn more about Orange Shirt Day from First Peoples’ House.