By Jensen, Randy on September 30, 2020.
Lethbridge College’s Indigenous Services team is hosting two important online events this week. Today, the college will host its annual Orange Shirt Day ceremony, while on Friday, it will recognize the Sisters in Spirit event. Both events will begin at 10 a.m.
Orange Shirt Day honours the resilience and culture of Indigenous peoples in Canada while acknowledging the legacy of residential schools. The ceremony focuses on the concept that Every Child Matters, with participants being asked to reflect on what Every Child Matters means to them. The college’s Orange Shirt Day begins at 10 a.m. today and coincides with the national recognition of the event. The online ceremony includes a prayer, testimonials, speeches and a video presentation.
“These events are about education, for our students, our employees and our community,” says Shanda Webber, manager of Indigenous Services, in a news release. “To move forward, we need to understand the true history of Indigenous peoples in our country – both the historical implications of residential schools and the ongoing threat towards Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women, Girls and Two-Spirited people. Starting an open and honest conversation is one of the first steps towards reconciliation and a brighter, stronger and safer future for Indigenous children and future generations to come.”
On Friday, the college will host Sisters in Spirit, which honours the memory of the more than 1,200 Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women, Girls and Two-Spirited (MMIWG2S) in Canada. The college’s event supports the national Sisters in Spirit campaign, which includes vigils and events across Canada each October. Amnesty International – Lethbridge organizes the local event, in collaboration with local and surrounding Indigenous community partners. Lethbridge College’s program, which begins at 10 a.m. on Friday, is student-led to serve as a way for students to bring awareness and address the issue of violence against Indigenous women, girls and two-spirited people.
Selena Medicine Shield, a Child and Youth Care student, will present a poster she designed promoting MMIWG2S awareness. Medicine Shield’s poster was chosen for a national honour earlier this year when she attended the CICan (Colleges and Institutes Canada) on the Hill and Student Showcase in Ottawa in February. Her sister, Kerri-Ann Medicine Shield, will then introduce a screening of “Spirit of the Bluebird,” a short film inspired by the murder of Kerri-Ann and Selena’s grandmother, Gloria Black Plume, a member of the Blackfoot Nation in Calgary, in 1999.
“It’s about creating and establishing awareness about these issues not only for Indigenous peoples but for the greater community,” says Lowell Yellowhorn, Indigenous Student Support and Experience co-ordinator. “Our students need to be aware of these issues in Canada, so they can prepare themselves as they enter in roles that may be involved with this sector in their future career. We need to think long term and think about the community we would like to see in 20 years.”