September 30 is Truth and Reconciliation Day, formerly known as Orange Shirt Day. This year, Ajax is observing the day with special programming to support bringing the community together and making space for education and reflection.
Residents can join Ajax Council online for the Mississauagas of Scugog Island First Nation (MSIFN) permanent flag pole installation and flag raising ceremony at 11 a.m., live-streamed at ajax.ca/livestream. Following the flag installation and ceremony, the community is invited to participate in an in-person healing circle with Indigenous Elder, Kim Wheatley at 1 p.m. in Heritage Square (Ajax Town Hall, 65 Harwood Ave. S.). Please note, Covid health and safety protocols will be in place.
“In recent months, the discovery of unmarked children’s graves at past residential school grounds is a stark reminder of Canada’s painful history with the residential school system. This discovery has shone a bright light on the ongoing perpetual intergenerational trauma and pain experienced by the Indigenous community as well as the need for education, reflection and solidarity with the Indigenous community as we continue to work towards truth and reconciliation. Education and action must occur for all of Canada to realize that Every Child Matters. Every child mattered then, and every child matters now. Ajax Council’s decision to install a permanent flag pole raising the MSIFN flag outside of Town Hall comes at a time where we continue to stand in solidarity with all Indigenous communities by building supports and demanding concrete action toward truth and reconciliation.”
– Mayor Shaun Collier
“I encourage all Ajacians to participate in the special online and in-person programming planned for Truth and Reconciliation Day, including the permanent flag pole installation smudge ceremony, proclamation, Indigenous singing and drumming, followed by story-telling and reflections with a healing circle led by elder Kim Wheatley. This is a very emotional time for the community and it is important to leave space for reflection and healing. To show solidarity with the Indigenous Community please consider wearing the colour orange to help raise awareness about the story of Phylis Webted and remember all the lost children and survivors who were subjected to the residential school system and are still effected by intergenerational traumas.”
– Natasha Sharma, Diversity & Inclusion Coordinator, Town of Ajax
- September 30, 2021 marks Canada’s first National Day of Truth and Reconciliation. The National Day of Truth and Reconciliation was formerly known as Orange Shirt Day.
- Orange Shirt Day began in Williams Lake in 2013 and has since has spread across many schools in British Columbia and Canada, and is a time for pause and reflection as many members of the Indigenous community mourn their loved ones and remember the thousands of children who did not make it home and the lasting effects of the residential school system.
- Town of Ajax social media feeds will be paused and dedicated to Truth and Reconciliation Day on September 30.
- The 24-hour National Indian Residential School Crisis Line is available for emotional and crisis referral services: at 1-866-925-4419.