On Sunday Sept 29th, a group from Ascension joined three other churches in Uxbridge to mark Orange Shirt Day, a day to remember the children who were sent to Residential Schools, to learn about the effects the schools had on the children at the time, and to acknowledge the effects that still plague Indigenous Peoples today. Orange Shirt Day is a day of learning, and a step toward reconciliation.
First, we worshipped and prayed together at St Paul's Anglican Church. The guest speaker was The Rev Leigh Kern ( Anglican Coordinator of Indigenous Ministries and Reconciliation Animator for the GTA) Then we marched together, accompanied by the DRPS Indigenous police car, to Trinity United Church for a delicious lunch and to hear further from Rev Leigh. We learned from Rev Leigh that as late as the 1970's Indigenous women were being sterilized against their will or without their knowledge. Most of us had no idea this ever happened in Canada, but it did. We also learned that, as per the legal definition of genocide from the office of the UN Special Advisor on the Prevention of Genocide, what happened because of the Indian Schools in Canada falls within every aspect of that definition.
To conclude the day, we experienced Indigenous drumming, singing and dancing from very special guests from Georgina Island First Nations: the Ashunyung Singers, Dancers, and Story Tellers. We also had an opportunity to ask questions, and to participate in a couple of dances ourselves.
At Ascension, we have a group meeting regularly to study and learn about residential schools, and most importantly, reconciliation. You are welcome to join us.
- Kathy Sweet