NAN Oshkaatisak Council to Wear Orange & Spread Awareness, not celebrate on Canada Day

THUNDER BAY, ON: The Nishnawbe Aski Nation (NAN) Oshkaatisak (All Young People’s) Council will not acknowledge Canada Day this week, choosing instead to wear orange and spread awareness about the shameful history of Indian Residential Schools and the devastating legacy that continues today.

“The Oshkaatisak Council is deeply saddened that the recent discovery of the final resting places of innocent youth at IRS sites in Canada and the United States now numbers over a thousand and is expected to rise in coming months. All children who are recovered, and those children who have yet to be recovered, matter and they will always matter. The children deserve to be found and brought back home,” said Oshkaatisak Council member Mallory Solomon, of Constance Lake First Nation. “On Turtle Island it was known about the children who never returned home, and there are more still to be recovered. The Government of Canada also knew, and they are finally acknowledging it. As a nation of Indigenous Peoples, we must stand strong and shout this out to the rest of Canada. This country’s true history is finally being revealed, and it’s time to stand together and demand justice and accountability.”

The Oshkaatisak Council is devasted by the discovery of hundreds of unmarked graves at the former Marieval Indian Residential School in Saskatchewan. The discovery of 751 graves near Cowessess follows the May 2021 discovery of the final resting places of 215 children at the former Kamloops Indian Residential School.

The Council sends their thoughts and prayers to Cowessness First Nation and all the families and Nations affected by the discovery of the final resting places of these youth. They will place down tobacco for the next few days in honour of the children who have been located.

IRS Survivors, their families, and anyone requiring emotional support or assistance can contact:

  • IRS Survivors Society at 1-800-721-0066 (toll-free)
  • IRS Crisis Line at 1-866-925-4419
  • NAN Hope 1-844-NAN-HOPE (626-4673)

For more information please contact:
Michael Heintzman,
Director of Communications
Cell: (807) 621-2790
mheintzman@nan.ca