The Honouring the Children Orange Ribbon Ceremony was recently held at Oshawa City Hall to pay homage the Indigenous children who had to endure the residential schools in Canada.
The event included a blessing and smudging ceremony by Dr. Shirley Williams, Elder and residential school survivor and a welcome by Oshawa Mayor Dan Carter, as well as a drum song and call to action by Mary George, President of Bawaajigewin Aboriginal Community Circle.
Following the ceremony, Indigenous and non-Indigenous community members were invited to tie orange ribbons along the railing on Centre Street at Civic Square, on the east side of City Hall.
These actions were to acknowledge the children, to show a sign of respect to them and their families, and to support healing in shattered Indigenous Communities across Canada in the spirit of Truth and Reconciliation.
George says the ribbon ceremony is one small action towards acknowledging those children and supporting our community.
She says the braid from the ribbons will represent how they will be combining their acknowledgement of the children who had to endure the residential school system, their heartfelt support of their families and remaining survivors, and their commitment to help revitalize Indigenous community members connection to culture, language and ceremony together.
“I hope it remains as a visual reminder for us all, so we can honour our ancestors, acknowledge the work we have to do now to continue to learn and grow, so we can prepare the way for our future generations,” says George.
Carter says the city is honoured to stand with Indigenous Peoples of Oshawa and across Canada to honour the children of the residential schools and the unmarked graves which were recently uncovered in many locations across Canada.
“As mayor, I am committed to building relationships with Indigenous communities in the spirit of Truth and Reconciliation by fostering partnerships, including the honouring ceremony held in partnership with Bawaajigewiin Aboriginal Community Circle,” he says.
Oshawa is situated on the traditional territory of the Mississaugas of Scugog Island First Nation, which is covered by the Williams Treaties and is the present day home of many First Nations, Métis and Inuit peoples.
Bawaajigewin Aboriginal Community Circle is an Aboriginal-led incorporated non-profit agency that was developed through numerous community partnerships and consultations in the Durham Region.
Community members are invited to come to City Hall until Tuesday, Oct. 5 to bring and tie an orange ribbon on the railing to honour the children.
The ribbons will eventually be braided together by Bawaajigewin Aboriginal Community Circle and displayed at a future date.