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NEWS: CSA and the CUE Indigenous Fellowship collaborate on Orange Shirt Day design

Posted on: Sep 27, 2021

September 30 – A Day For Learning And Reflection

CUE will be observing National Day for Truth and Reconciliation on September 30th. Our campus will be closing to allow for staff, students and faculty to pause and reflect on the history and legacy residential schools in Canada and our current relationship with Indigenous peoples. We encourage all members of our community to participate in the many virtual events happening across the country, which support truth, healing and reconciliation.

A Unique And Personal Design

Early in September, the CUE Indigenous Fellowship connected with Izzy Johannson, a first year Science student with Métis heritage. Izzy is an avid lover of Zelda, video games, drawing, reading, writing and graphic design. Utilizing her gifts, Izzy has created the first orange shirt day design unique to CUE. We are proud to say that with the generous support from our CSA- orange shirts will be available to members of our campus community free of charge.

The design features an Indigenous mother and child embracing by the warmth of a home fire. Izzy shared “when I was thinking about what the design should be, I was thinking about how Indigenous children would be forcibly taken from their homes and experienced horrible things [at residential school]…I wanted to focus on returning home or to a place of safety and comfort”. The fire is a reminder of power, strength and determination but is also associated with warmth or home across many cultures. “I wanted to translate that core feeling of warmth, safety and connection with our families” because that was severed through residential schools as recalled by survivors and their children. The image is the hope that Indigenous families can find that safe place to heal themselves and their families.

Izzy recalls attending the Truth and Reconciliation Commission National Event in Edmonton with her mother and sister. At this event, many residential school survivors spoke about the abuse endured and how that continued to affect them throughout their lives. Izzy was young at the time but the experience stuck with her. Her mother has always taught Izzy to be proud of her heritage – having strong Métis, British and Icelandic roots. Although Izzy knew the realities of Indigenous people and communities, she is concerned that the awareness is not getting into the places that need it most.  “Not enough people know about what happened to Indigenous people or take it seriously…When I’m standing in a room and a teacher asks who knows about residential schools or orange shirt day, it’s usually only me and couple of other hands that go up…I want to spread awareness so that Indigenous communities can get the support that they need in order to heal”. She went on to explain that it is not enough for Canadians to say sorry or feel ashamed. Action is required in reconciliation. “For the people that survived residential schools, their children and future generations will continue to feel the effects of trauma experienced in these places- by now we know that trauma can be transmitted generationally”. Izzy encourages our campus to think about the ways we can contribute to reconciliation. “Wear your orange shirts, donate to organizations that help residential school survivors and their families and spread the word”.

Get Your Orange Shirt – Sept 28 & 29

There will be limited quantities of shirts available for pick up on Sept. 28th and 29th between 1pm and 5pm. Sizes available include S, M, L, XL and XXL.

The CSA will have a table for people to pick up t-shirts outside the main doors of the Hole Academic Centre. Anyone wanting a t-shirt should present their CUE ID and be wearing a face mask. Orange shirts will be given on a first come first serve basis while quantities last.

We thank the CSA and CIF executive for all their assistance in coordinating the design and shirt order.