Last year, Canada held the first National Day for Truth and Reconciliation.
Now, September 30th marks an annual recognition of the painful history and ongoing impacts of residential schools in Canada, honouring the children whose lives were lost and the legacy of survivors, and creating a space for everyone to engage in meaningful conversations and continued learning, healing and action.
YWHO recognizes that our Network of hubs is situated on lands across Ontario that have been occupied by diverse Indigenous groups for millennia; lands rich in civilizations with knowledge of medicine, architecture, technology, and extensive trade routes throughout the Americas. We are committed to honoring the lands and healing traditions of Indigenous people and working collaboratively to integrate them into our models of care and services for Indigenous youth.
YWHO and all of the local teams across the province are committed to helping advance truth and reconciliation with First Nations, Inuit and Métis individuals.
We welcome all Indigenous youth, caregivers and family members who need support in various areas, offering culturally relevant programming co-developed with Indigenous advisories, youth and families. In addition, local hubs collaborate with other local Indigenous organizations to offer culturally appropriate activities, workshops and specialized care. Some great examples of these programs can be seen at our Kenora, North Simcoe, and Timmins hubs.
To ensure that the services and supports provided meet the needs of Indigenous youth and families, we work closely with our Provincial Indigenous Youth and Family Advisory Circle (PIYFAC). This advisory circle is consulted when developing YWHO programs and processes, and plays an important role providing guidance and recommendations to Youth Wellness Hubs Ontario to improve services and care for Indigenous youth and their families.
Today is also known as Orange Shirt Day. We wear orange to raise awareness on the intergenerational impacts of residential schools on individuals, families and communities. The orange shirt also symbolizes the concept “every child matters”. It originated from Phyllis Webstad, who shared her story in 2013. recounting her first day of residential schooling at six years old, when she was stripped of her clothes, including the new orange shirt her grandmother bought her, which was never returned. With the support of the Indigenous grass-root movement Orange Shirt Society, the orange shirt symbolizes the fact that several generations of Indigenous children have had their identity and culture stripped away from them.
We are honoured to work with and support Indigenous communities across Ontario.
We also acknowledge that reconciliation is an ongoing effort and commitment. Supporting Indigenous youth and providing culturally safe care requires significant resources, collaboration and reflection. YWHO still has work to do to demonstrate this commitment. We will continue to work to increase supports at the local and provincial level, establish and maintain respectful and reciprocal relationships, and provide opportunities for Indigenous youth, families and Elders.
*Source : https://www.camh.ca/-/media/files/camh-landacknowledgements-2022.pdf