Photo of leaders from Centre for Wise Practices in Indigenous Health, Downie Wenjack Fund & The Woodland Cultural Institute with WCH leaders at the 2019 Orange Shirt Day Atrium Table.

Honouring the Past, Committing to the Future

Orange Shirt Day was first commemorated in 2013 as part of the St. Joseph Mission Residential School Commemoration Project and Reunion.

On September 30 of that year, Phyllis Webstad recounted a story that occurred 40 years ago when her bright orange shirt was taken away when she arrived at the residential school.

In response to the Truth and Reconciliation Call to Action #80, and following the recent discoveries of the remains of thousands of children on the grounds of former residential schools, the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation became a federal statutory holiday.

Indigenous peoples have always known about the violence and horrors of residential schools. But the unearthing of the children has exposed the truth to those who did not know. 

Learning the truth about residential schools is a key step towards reconciling with Canada’s history and addressing the ongoing inequities that exist for Indigenous peoples and communities.

Non-Indigenous Canadians who do have a paid holiday should be reminded that this is not an extra day of vacation – Call to Action #80 has an intention.

Spend today in reflection, learning, and planning for actions in solidarity with Indigenous peoples.

The Temerty Faculty of Medicine knows that the work of reconciling the disparities in health equity and education is ongoing.

One of the initial priorities for action in the 2018-23 Academic Strategic Plan is to expand the mandate of the Office of Indigenous Medical Education. Now known as the Office of Indigenous Health, the office has expanded its focus from the MD program to supporting the whole Faculty.

New roles include the hiring of Nadia McLaren, who joins the Office of Indigenous Health and Centre for Wise Practices at Women’s College Hospital as an Indigenous Educator.

Chase McMurren will be the new Indigenous Practitioner Liaison for all learners, adding to his existing role as the Indigenous Health Theme Lead in the MD program.

Suzanne Shoush will be a new Indigenous Health Lead in Postgraduate Medical Education.

Rosary Spence continues to support all Indigenous faculty, staff and learners as a support person and knowledge keeper. 

We need all members of our community in the Temerty Faculty of Medicine to consider how they will contribute to working toward reconciliation.

For resources to reflect on during National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, please visit the following:

Patricia Houston
Acting Dean
Temerty Faculty of Medicine

Lisa Richardson
Associate Dean, Inclusion & Diversity
Temerty Faculty of Medicine