Ontario English Catholic Teachers

Catholic Teachers Commemorate and Recognize the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation

Wear Orange to School on Friday, September 29


“Catholic teachers are committed to Truth and Reconciliation – and on September 30, we recommit ourselves to taking action in our classrooms and communities, and to making space for the voices of Indigenous Peoples, from whom we must listen and learn, each and every day.

As we commemorate and recognize the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation and Orange Shirt Day, we encourage teachers, students – everyone – to wear orange on Friday, September 29 – the school day before the official day – so that, in our classrooms, we ensure that we are acknowledging and confronting the devastation that Canada’s residential school system has inflicted on Indigenous communities. We also celebrate the many First Nations, Métis, and Inuit knowledge keepers, elders, and helpers whose leadership and wisdom is essential in Ontario schools.

Catholic teachers add the strength of our voice in the advocacy and struggle to end discrimination against all Indigenous Peoples and we recommit to having the important and necessary discussions about the histories of Indigenous Peoples; the intergenerational trauma caused by this country’s residential school system and how it has devastated the identities, cultures, and spiritual values of Indigenous communities; and the systemic, anti-Indigenous racism in our society.

As an Association, we renew our commitment to support the calls for the Vatican to take further steps towards Truth and Reconciliation, as part of the progress started in 2022 with Pope Francis’s direct apology to Survivors and Indigenous Peoples for the Catholic Church’s role in Canada’s residential school system. And we support the calls for the federal government to immediately implement the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, promoting meaningful action toward addressing the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Calls to Action, and for the provincial government to reinstate vital resources around Indigenous education.

As we all honour Survivors and their families, to seek justice and confront the enduring pain caused by residential schools, as Catholic teachers we must continue to walk with Indigenous Peoples from across Canada. We must provide support to Indigenous communities in their pursuit of healing and take action in our classrooms and communities to champion the message of this day, that every child matters.”

- René Jansen in de Wal, President of the Ontario English Catholic Teachers’ Association