Orange Shirt Day

Commemorating the lasting impact of residential schools

September 30 marked Orange Shirt Day across the country – a day to promote awareness about the Indian residential school system and the legacy it left behind.

Members of our Fredericton community gathered at an Orange Shirt Day event spearheaded by arts undergraduate student Tiffani Fazio as part of a collaboration between the faculty of arts peer mentor program and the Nisuhsahne “let us walk together” peer mentorship initiative. The event included prayer, smudging and teachings to commemorate those who survived and those who were lost.

I would like to extend my thanks to Tiffani as well as to all those who offered support and assistance to make the event possible: Tabatha Armstrong, Matt MacLean, Ramona Nicholas, Nadia Wysote, Amanda Reid, Marc Bragdon, Alicia McLaughlin, all the faculty and staff at the Mi’kmaq-Wolastoqey Centre, and everyone else who helped and showed their support that day.

The Nisuhsahne peer mentorship initiative will continue throughout the term with monthly smudging and study sessions at the Harriet Irving Library in order to build greater visibility of Indigenous culture and ceremony on our Fredericton campus and to offer Indigenous and non-Indigenous students another space for healing, community and support. The idea was born out of Tiffani’s FutureReadyWabanaki work placement with Matt MacLean, the mental health strategist on our Fredericton campus, as the Indigenous Student Assistant Coordinator for the Nisuhsahne Program. It is a collaborative project between the Nisuhsahne and arts peer mentorship programs.