Every Child Matters at Centennial College

A person wearing an orange shirt to mark the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation

Join Centennial College community members for a day of reflection, learning and engagement on the legacy of residential schools.

When: Wednesday, September 29, 2021
Time: 9:00 AM - 4:30 PM EDT

Register Here

About this event

Every Child Matters is a yearly commemoration event tied to remembering that, for more than a century, Indigenous children were sent to Indian Residential Schools that were funded by Canada and operated by the churches. The process of remembering is anchored in what has become known as Orange Shirt Day.

Orange Shirt Day started as a response to the legacy of the St. Joseph Mission (SJM) Indian Residential School in Williams Lake, BC, Canada in the spring of 2013.

It grew out of Phyllis' story of having her new orange shirt taken away on her first day of school at the Mission. In sharing her story, Phyllis mobilized people to action and as a result, Orange Shirt Day / Every Child Matters was created. September 30 was once a day tied to the removal of children from their homes to attend Indian Residential Schools far from their families and communities. Thanks to Phyllis and Williams Lake, it is now a day of commemoration and remembrance - a day to learn the history and truth of Indian Residential Schools.

In 2021, after the finding of the unmarked graves by the Tk'emlúps te Secwépemc First Nation, on the grounds of the former Kamloops Indian Residential School, and in response to a long-standing call from the 2015 Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Final Report, the federal government declared September 30 as the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, and that it should be recognized as a federal statutory holiday.

In consultation with Indigenous community members across the College and our Aboriginal Education Council (AEC), and in recognition of our commitment to reconciliation as captured in our Indigenous Strategic Framework, Centennial will dedicate September 30, 2021 as a day of reflection, engagement and learning for all of our students and employees, and will, as a result, be cancelling classes and suspending campus operations.

It is the expectation of the College that all members of our community will be engaging in a day of reflection “to honour survivors, their families, and communities, and ensure that public commemoration of the history and legacy of residential schools remains a vital component of the reconciliation process.”

In addition to Thursday, September 30, we encourage our College community to wear orange on September 29, 2021 and join us during virtual sessions held throughout the day.


9:00 AM - Sacred Fire with Seán Kinsella and Leigh Simpson

10:00 AM - Session with Harmony Nadjiwon and Elder Liz Akiwenzie

1:00 PM - Session with Bryan Winters of the Toronto Inuit Association

2:00 PM - Session with Laura Arndt

4:00 PM - Wrap Up with Seán Kinsella and Leigh Simpson