September 30th marked National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, a day dedicated to honouring the lost children and survivors of residential schools, as well as their families and communities.
At Interac, our offices were closed that day and we encouraged our employees to focus their efforts on reflection and education. Interac also made a corporate donation to the Orange Shirt Society, an organization that supports reconciliation, creates awareness of the individual, family and community inter-generational impacts of residential schools, and founded Orange Shirt Day.
Orange Shirt Day originates from the story of Phyllis Webstad from the Stswecem’c Xgat’tem First Nation. In 1973, on her first day at St. Joseph’s Residential School in Williams Lake, BC, Phyllis’s new orange shirt was taken from her, leading her to feel invisible. Forty years later, on September 30th, 2013, Phyllis spoke publicly for the first time about her experience, and thus began the Orange Shirt Day movement. The Orange Shirt Society also helped us source orange shirts for each Interac employee so we could all help raise awareness of the tragic legacy of residential schools and show our support to the Indigenous community and the Every Child Matters movement. You can learn more about the Orange Shirt Society here.
At Interac, we understand that education is the first step to reconciliation. Our Human Resources and D&I teams made new educational resources available to employees to help us learn more about the tragic history of residential schools in Canada and the steps we can take to be better allies. In August, we were honoured to have Jason Carter from Bear Standing Tall share his personal lived experience of the residential school system and he educated our staff on the history behind the school system and the importance of reconciliation.
Interac is committed to prioritizing diversity & inclusion and ensuring we are doing our part to better our communities. We also understand that reconciliation and honouring Indigenous peoples doesn’t stop after one holiday, and so we are committed to continuing this work moving forward.