National Day for Truth and Reconciliation

Statement by President Serge Miville

Today I’m wearing my orange shirt.

Orange, the colour of little Phyllis Webstad’s shirt—the one she wore on the day she was taken to her first day of school at an Indian residential school, bought by her grandmother which she wore with pride.

But at residential school, her shirt would be taken from her.

“My shirt was taken away,” said Phyllis Webstad. “No matter what I did, they wouldn’t give it back. I never got to wear my shirt again.”

Today, it’s for little Phyllis, for all the 150,000 First Nations, Métis and Inuit children uprooted from their families, their communities, their language and their culture by these residential schools, that we wear our orange shirts.

On this National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, wearing my orange shirt, I think of those who survived, those who did not return, those who were found in the unmarked graves of former residential schools and those who live with this legacy every day.

To these future generations who are keeping alive the aspirations of their ancestors, the University of Sudbury is committed to building ties of friendship and solidarity with First Nations, MĂ©tis and Inuit peoples.

Together, we can forge a better future.

Serge Miville

President and Vice-Chancellor

Université de Sudbury