On Orange Shirt Day, schools across the Greater Toronto Area are education their students about Canada’s residential schools and the long-lasting impact they had on Indigenous people.
At Northview Heights Secondary School, located near Finch Avenue and Bathurst Street, students have been studying the country’s former residential school system.
“Most had to change their religions, their hairstyle and their language...they forgot what their identity was as an aboriginal,” student Jeffrey Osaro said.
Residential schools were government sponsored, religious schools meant to assimilate Indigenous children into what was considered European-Canadian culture. Many of the children were abused and an estimated 6,000 did not survive the horrific conditions.
Staff and students say it’s important not to forget what happened in Canada’s residential schools.
Hanna Porter, a geography and politics teacher at the school, feels the knowledge of residential schools and their troubled past will help shape her students future.
“Their generation are going to be at the forefront of creating change. When it comes to climate change, when it comes to political change in Canada, and also hopefully repairing the relationship with indigenous people in Canada”.
The student’s classes culminated in an Orange Shirt Day recognition assembly Monday in the school foyer.
Orange shirts, orange ribbons and a giant poster full of student’s signatures adorned the foyer of Northview Heights Secondary School.
Student Elijah Girgis told CTV News Toronto there is more that can be done for Indigenous people,
“I think we’re helping but we could be doing more. We could show them more recognition. We could give them some of their land back. I just think there’s a little more we could do”.