Honor “A Day of Remembrance and Reconciliation” or Orange Shirt Day
National Day of Remembrance and Reconciliation or Orange Shirt Day promotes awareness about the Indian residential school system which continues to impact Native American communities in the United States and Canada. This day honors and remembers the children forced into Indian boarding schools, those who did not come home, the survivors, and families and promotes healing. National Day of Remembrance and Reconciliation also reminds us of the work that still needs to be done and we are doing our part by observing this day.
Indian residential schools, once called American Indian boarding schools, were established in the early 19th century. The schools were developed as an assimilation model to teach Native American children Euro-American ways. Residential schools stripped Native American children of their culture, including their language, customs, music, and traditions.
Recently an Alaska Native Girl, Anastasia Ashouwak, who passed more than 100 years ago at a boarding school in Pennsylvania was brought home to Kodiak. Her remains were buried in Old Harbor. Ashouwak’s family was originally from the village of Kaguyak on the southern tip of the island, but her family moved to Old Harbor when the village was washed away by the 1964 tsunami. Anastasia and 10 other students from Kodiak Island were sent to the Carlisle Indian Industrial School in 1901 where she spent 3 years before passing from tuberculosis. The Alutiiq Museum hopes to bring another girl, who is buried at Carlisle, home to Kodiak. This has brought more awareness to the impact residential schools had on our island community.
Please wear an orange shirt or another symbolization to show your support for this day of Remembrance and Reconciliation. Support those who did not escape, those that experienced this trauma, and the generational impacts that boarding schools have had. Communities across the United States and Canada commemorate Orange Shirt Day by hosting memorials, candlelight vigils, and walks. Speakers offer a historical perspective to raise awareness. More resources can easily be found at orangeshirtday.org and alaskachildrenstrust.org or by searching for “Orange Shirt Day”.
At KIBSD, we look forward to seeing orange shirts, orange bracelets (available to any middle or high school student), stickers (available to any elementary student), or pins (handed out last year) in schools on September 29th (as the Day of Remembrance and Reconciliation is on Saturday, September 30th).