Trudeau speaks at “Beyond the Orange Shirt” event

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau speaks at "Beyond the Orange Shirt" even in Niagara Falls. Blackburn News photo.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau took part in the “Beyond the Orange Shirt” event in Niagara Falls to mark National Truth and Reconciliation Day.

“This is a day for Indigenous peoples,” said Trudeau. “It’s a day to recognize that, yes you are still here, you are still strong, and you are an indissociable part of the present and the future we build every day as a country.”

Trudeau spoke about the horrors of residential schools taking young children from their homes and teaching them that their culture was worthless.

“Let us not forget that every single school across this country, through all those decades, was also a residential school in the way it taught non-Indigenous people that Indigenous people had no worth, had no culture, had no language,” he said.

Trudeau urged non-Indigenous people to reflect on the legacy of residential schools.

“How many times do Indigenous people need to tell their stories of trauma, of loss, of pain, of grief, until we absorb those stories as non-Indigenous people and make them our own?” asked Trudeau. “Because they too are the story of Canada and therefore they too are the story of each of us.”

Also present at the ceremony was Phyllis Webstad, who shared the story of her orange shirt being taken from her on her first day at a residential school, inspiring a movement.