Message from Paul O'Byrne, Dean and Vice-President, Faculty of Health Sciences (updated September 30, 2022)

September 30 marks the country’s second National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, also known as Orange Shirt Day. The orange shirt is worn as a remembrance of the story of residential school survivor, Phyllis (Jack) Webstad. The six-year-old had her new orange shirt taken away on her first day of residential school.

By wearing an orange shirt, we acknowledge the need for meaningful reconciliation, honour those who have been impacted by Canada’s residential school system and affirm that every child matters. We have an important role to play in remembering these stories and working towards reconciliation to create a more open and just society.

Several events have been taking place across McMaster in commemoration of Orange Shirt Day, as outlined in this article in the Daily News, which includes guidance for faculty, staff and learners who wish to take time to reflect, listen and learn. These events are an opportunity to honour the families and children impacted by residential school, including many children who tragically lost their lives.

I hope you will join me on Sept. 30 to take time to reflect and learn about the history of residential schools, honour the victims and recognize the ongoing and tragic legacy of these schools.

The Faculty’s Indigenous Health Learning Lodge held a very successful Welcome Gathering on September 23 that featured McMaster Chancellor Santee Smith and Bernice Downey, associate dean, Indigenous health for the Faculty, as well as Indigenous dance troupe and Knowledge Helpers. Event highlights, including photos are featured in this Daily News article.

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