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Canadians come together to honour those who attended residential schools

There was a dark time in our country’s history, but on Wednesday, Sept. 30, Canadians are paying tribute to the First Nations children who were ripped from their homes and forced to enroll in Indian Residential Schools.

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In an effort to promote healing and reconciliation, Canadians are wearing bright orange shirts on #OrangeShirtDay.

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People showed off their bold wardrobes via Twitter to encourage others to do the same.

Vanessa McKay, a student at St. James Collegiate, is just one of many pupils at schools across the country who have banded together to raise awareness by wearing orange. She told CBC News about her family’s history.

I don’t know my full culture, I don’t know my native language. It was something that was stopped with my great-grandmother,” she explained.

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“I would come home and talk to my parents about it and details would slowly come out over time,” McKay continued. “It’s not really something that’s brought up at family dinners.”

But it should. This is something that needs to be discussed, and Twitter users have urged parents to educate their children about the forced enrollment and its goal of removing the children from their culture and families in order to assimilate them into the predominant Canadian culture at the time.

The day also serves as a reminder about why it’s so important to remember the devastation caused by forcing people of other cultures to assimilate.

Will you be wearing your orange shirt today? Let us know, and share your thoughts about  #OrangeShirtDay in the comments below.

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