Councils unify across North Simcoe for Orange Shirt Day

·2 min read

The politicians of North Simcoe understand that Every Child Matters.

Throughout the month, councils across the municipalities have been adopting a statement constructed by Culture Alliance to be read on September 30, the National Day of Truth and Reconciliation known as Orange Shirt Day.

Formally known as the Culture Alliance in the Heart of Georgian Bay, the five municipalities of Beausoleil First Nation, Midland, Penetanguishene, and the Townships of Tay and Tiny comprise the joint committee which was created in 2019 to celebrate, foster, and promote cultural resources in the region.

“As you know, the Culture Alliance is a committee of five councils,” said Coun. Cindy Hastings to Tiny council; Hastings also serves as committee chair of the alliance. “We’ve been working together, and the committee felt very strongly about putting forward a statement about Orange Shirt Day.

“They worked collaboratively on the statement, but as a committee of council, we can’t be putting out statements on our own; we need permission from the individual councils.”

The statement is a one-page document to be shared on September 30, addressing the need for recognition and awareness to the residential and day schools within Canada’s history, and to encourage positive change while acknowledging the victims and experiences of Indigenous Peoples within the spirit of reconciliation.

“I think it does capture all aspects of it in a very appropriate and effective way,” said Tiny Mayor George Cornell.

During Midland’s committee of the whole meeting, Coun. Cher Cunningham, vice chair of the committee, was asked to read the entire two-and-a-half minute document to be entered into the permanent record.

“If you have not had a chance to read this through, you can find it in our agenda and the report there is fairly thorough. I think a wonderful job was done in crafting this respectful and considerate statement for us to use,” said Cunningham.

Tay Coun. Jeff Bumstead said, “The base to that message is education, and recognition of the history that you may or may not know.”

Bumstead acknowledged that the lack of provided information affected the communities, and that taking part in learning the significance of the day and its meaning would help “to build those bridges and move forward”.

Said Cunningham, “On September 30, we will certainly have an opportunity to do a variety of events around the Orange Shirt Day.”

Community health centre Chigamik, 287 Bayshore Drive in Midland, is hosting a Truth and ReconciliAction Day on September 30, from 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m., with activities including a drumming circle, tobacco-tie workshop, and sacred fire and education. Along the adjacent Rotary Trail will be further activities from Beausoleil Island National Historic Site of Canada, Tiny Forest Academy and a memorial walk led by Greg Garratt and the Georgian Bay Métis Council.

Derek Howard, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, MidlandToday.ca

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