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Alberta

Orange Shirt Day – Acknowledging the Lasting Legacy of the Canadian Residential School System

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The year 2020 marks the 24th anniversary of the final closure of the last operating Canadian residential school, located in Punnichy, Saskatchewan, in the year 1996. 

Originally established in the late 1800’s, more than 130 residential schools operated across Canada for over 120 years. During this time, more than 150,000 First Nations, Metis and Inuit children were forcibly removed from their homes and placed into the schools (1). 

Jointly operated by the Government of Canada and religious organizations across the nation, the residential school system was a violent and corrupt approach towards the total assimilation of Indigenous children and the ultimate erasure of Indigenous culture. The methods used by the schools to pursue this goal, as officially documented by the Canadian Truth and Reconciliation Commission (CTRC), were abhorrent acts of violence and humiliation against children that would raise a legacy of trauma and pain spanning generations. 

The exact number of children who died during their time at the residential schools remains unclear, but is estimated to be greater than 6000 (2). The CTRC documents that many students succumbed to disease and malnourishment exacerbated by abysmal living conditions, while others died as a result of abuse. Records show many children perished in fires when a number of schools burned down over the years, and others died by suicide, or while trying to escape (3).  

“Children were abused, physically and sexually, and they died in numbers that would not have been tolerated in any school system in the country, or in the world.” Summary of the Final Report of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada (4)

Since the final closure of the residential schools in 1996, steps towards national reconciliation – such as the launch of the Canadian Truth and Reconciliation Commission in 2008 – have been based in the acknowledgement and commemoration of the painful legacy of the schools across Canada. The documentation, preservation and dissemination of the residential school experience as told by the survivors is essential to understanding and accepting the implications of this dark and extensive period in Canadian history. 

Among many ongoing discussions and dedications to the survivors and victims of the Canadian residential Schools, Orange Shirt Day is an annual recognition of the ongoing pursuit of reconciliation and affirmation in Canada. 

Orange Shirt Day was born in Williams Lake, BC in May 2013 as a legacy of the St. Joseph Residential School Commemoration Project and Reunion. The project was founded by former student Esketemc (Alkali Lake) Chief Fred Robbins in an effort to bring together those whose lives had been negatively impacted by the schools. Specifically, “Events were designed to commemorate the residential school experience, to witness and honor the healing journey of the survivors and their families, and to commit to the ongoing process of reconciliation” (5).

Orange Shirt Day was founded as a result of the St. Joseph project, when former student and spokesperson for the Reunion group, Phyllis (Jack) Webstad, shared the experience of her first day at the residential school, “when her shiny new orange shirt, bought by her grandmother, was taken from her as a six-year old girl” (6).  

September 30th was chosen as the annual Orange Shirt Day to coincide with the returning school year, and to commemorate the time of year in which children were originally taken from their homes to attend the residential schools. 

On September 30, 2019, The National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation (NCTR) hosted a ceremony in honor of Orange Shirt Day at the Canadian Museum of History in Gatineau, Quebec. A list commemorating the names of 2,800 Indigenous children who died while attending the residential schools was presented on a 50-metre-long-ceremonial cloth. This ceremony represented an important first step, according to the NCTR, however, there is still a long way to go towards the proper recognition and memorialization of all who were lost to the schools. 

Since 2013, Orange Shirt Day has continued to foster ongoing investigation and dialogue surrounding the history and lasting legacy of the residential school system within the Canadian historical landscape. It is a public call to listen, share, and remember those who suffered and now carry the lasting wounds of the government mandated Canadian residential school system, as well as those who never returned home at all. 

 

For more stories, visit Todayville Calgary.

Alberta

Homan remains in top spot after stealing point in 10th end for win over Carey

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CALGARY — Ontario’s Rachel Homan kicked off play in the championship pool Friday with a 7-6 victory over Chelsea Carey of Team Wild Card One at the Canadian women’s curling playdowns.

Carey, who’s filling in at skip for Tracy Fleury this week, had hammer in the 10th end but gave up a steal of one when she barely missed a runback double-takeout attempt.

The top-seeded Homan improved to 8-1 along with Canada’s Kerri Einarson, who defeated Saskatchewan’s Sherry Anderson 10-6.

In other early games at the Markin MacPhail Centre, Alberta’s Laura Walker needed an extra end to get by Quebec’s Laurie St-Georges 7-6 and Manitoba’s Jennifer Jones posted a 12-8 win over Beth Peterson of Team Wild Card Three.

Another draw was scheduled for Friday night and three more draws were set for Saturday.

Homan, a three-time Hearts champion, started slowly by settling for singles in three of the first five ends. Carey, who edged Homan in the 2019 Scotties final, picked up deuces in the second and fourth before giving up a steal in the sixth.

Carey tried to blank the seventh end but her stone hung around for a point. Homan was a tad wide on an up-weight raise attempt in the eighth, allowing Carey to steal for a two-point cushion.

A Homan deuce tied the game but Carey couldn’t take advantage of hammer coming home.

Jones, meanwhile, who’s aiming for a record seventh national title, stole five points in the 10th end to improve to 7-2. Saskatchewan, Alberta and Quebec were tied in fourth place at 6-3 and the remaining wild-card teams were at 5-4.

The top three teams in the eight-team pool will advance to the playoffs Sunday.

The second- and third-place teams will meet in an afternoon semifinal for a berth in the evening final against the first-place team.

The Hearts winner will return as Team Canada at the 2022 national playdowns in Thunder Bay, Ont. The champion will also earn a berth in the Olympic Trials in November at Saskatoon.

The men’s national championship — the Tim Hortons Brier — starts March 5 at the same Canada Olympic Park venue. The Hearts is the first of six bonspiels to be held at the arena through late April.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 26, 2021.

Follow @GregoryStrongCP on Twitter.

The Canadian Press

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Alberta

Alberta and its physicians move to end ugly feud over fees with new tentative deal

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EDMONTON — The Alberta government and its 11,000 physicians have taken a first step toward resolving an ugly, fractious year-long dispute over fees and working conditions.

Health Minister Tyler Shandro and Dr. Paul Boucher, the head of the Alberta Medical Association, say they have reached a tentative deal on a new master agreement.

Boucher declined to provide specifics, saying he first wants to let members discuss and ratify the deal and that it will work within the government’s “budget imperatives.”

Alberta’s physicians collectively receive $5 billion a year, and the Alberta budget will see that figure rise slightly to $5.3 billion over the next three years.

A year ago, Shandro unilaterally cancelled the master agreement with the AMA and began imposing new rules on fees and visits, saying physician costs were rising too high year over year and were not sustainable.

That led some doctors to withdraw services, the AMA launched a lawsuit and Shandro was criticized for fighting with doctors in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 26, 2021.

The Canadian Press

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february, 2021

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