St. Catharines university students gear up for Orange Shirt Day

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Published September 27, 2022 at 10:10 am

Hadiyaˀdagénhahs First Nations, Métis and Inuit Student Centre Student Advisor Brendan Burke (left), and Peer Assistants Evelyn Dilworth (centre) and Kaitlyn Austin put on their orange shirts to prepare for a variety of events that will recognize the multigenerational legacy of the residential school system in Canada. (Photo: Brock University)

Things are going to get very orange on the Brock University’s St. Catharines and Thorold campuses this Friday.

Cindy Biancaniello, the Director of Brock’s newly renamed Hadiyaˀdagénhahs First Nations, Métis and Inuit Student Centre, is hoping people will participate in the many events and displays at the University throughout the final week of September to recognize the multigenerational legacy of the residential school system in Canada.

That means she would love to see a Sea of Orange on September 30.

“We have an obligation to honour those children who didn’t survive Indian residential schools and to recognize those who did,” Biancaniello told the Brock News. “We also have to be mindful that those survivors live with trauma, and the impact it carries is passed down for generations.”

Through taking the time to remember, Biancaniello says everyone who engages with the events will be able to share knowledge and history that was forcibly hidden away in the past.

“Cultural traditions that were once endangered are now being revitalized and strengthened, and there is a great opportunity for non-Indigenous people to learn Indigenous ways of knowing,” she added.

The school has a busy week planned.

Today (Sept. 27) will see Brock’s Acting Vice-Provost, Indigenous Engagement Robyn Bourgeois host a launch event for local author Patty Krawec’s book Becoming Kin from 7 to 9 p.m. at Silver Spire United Church in downtown St. Catharines.

Also led by Bourgeois, the University’s Decolonial Reading Circle (DRC) will hold a virtual information session on Wednesday, Sept. 28 at 6:30 pm.

Participants will learn about the DRC’s plans to explore the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls and to host discussions with Indigenous creators.

And, of course, Friday (Sept. 30) will be a non-instructional day observed at Brock in honour of the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation. The Schmon Tower will be illuminated in orange in the evening, and those wishing to mark the day are invited to wear orange shirts, visit the heart garden in front of the Rankin Family Pavilion.

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