Mattawa museum offers orange shirts commemorating National Day for Truth and Reconciliation

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With the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation coming up on September 30, the Mattawa Museum is offering orange T-shirts to support and raise awareness of the cause.

The shirts cost $20.00 and are available to pre-order via the museum’s website. Orders must be placed by Sunday, September 25.

The fee essentially covers the cost of printing, which is being done by a local printshop. Any additional funds will flow back into the museum.

“It’s important for us as a community museum to recognize the day,” explained museum curator, Judy Toupin.

“We had two walks of sorrow come through Mattawa,” she said, referring to Patricia Ballantyne’s Walk of Sorry, and the Up-Coming Warriors cross country trek.

“And they all came to the point here,” by the museum, near the river, “and camped here over night.”

The walkers left a mark and emphasized how “we need to continue raising awareness in our community” of truth and reconciliation, and the history of residential schools in Canada.

Her design “is an orange shirt with a small black feather” over the heart, and already a few pre-orders have been coming in from the community.

The orange shirt has become symbol of residential school survivors. It stems from Phyllis Webstad, who was given a new orange shirt from her aunt before attending residential school. Upon arrival, staff stripped her of the shirt, which she never saw again.

“I wanted to recognize the day,” Toupin said, “I want to make sure that our museum keeps reflecting what’s happening, not just in our community, but in our society.”

“We can’t be part of this community if we don’t reflect that,” she said.

David Briggs, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter,

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