ATU Local 113’s United Indigenous Council led a Sunrise Ceremony at Arrow Road yesterday to commemorate Orange Shirt Day and the National Day of Truth and Reconciliation.
Our Vice-President Angie Clark and the Wardens of ATU Local 113 joined in the ceremony to acknowledge the tragic history of Canada, the resilience of Indigenous Peoples of Turtle Island, and to honour the children who were impacted or never returned from residential schools.
Brent Pelletier, a member of the United Indigenous Council of ATU Local 113, addressed the gathering at the Sunrise Ceremony. Speaking of the generational trauma of residential schools Pelletier said, “Every single one of your Indigenous friends is either a residential school survivor, a survivor’s child, a survivor’s grandchild, or all three – Every single one.”
In support of the Indigenous people who are healing from the atrocities of the Residential School System, a Sacred Fire was built and attendees wore ‘Every Child Matters’ orange shirts. The Honour Song was recited to the children whose lives were taken and the survivors, families and communities that were left to put the broken pieces together.
Pelletier, a member of ATU Local 113 for 30 years, said, “The orange shirt symbolizes the stripping of our culture, language, traditions, freedom, and self esteem. So, my message to our young people is: Do everything they tried to destroy. learn and sing our songs, learn our dances, go to our ceremonies, develop your cultural identity, learn your language, and sit with our Elders. Let’s heal together.”
Clark recognized the work of Local 113’s United Indigenous Council and thanked them for their incredible commitment and unwavering dedication in lighting the way in our community and in our place of work towards learning and healing.
Clark acknowledged, “By wearing orange today, we stand in solidarity with Indigenous peoples. This is an important day of remembrance and reflection.”