You are here
Home > News > Kanehsatake unites for Orange Shirt Day

Kanehsatake unites for Orange Shirt Day

Courtesy Jadyn Lauder

In a community where there is strength in numbers, Kanehsata’kehró:non know resilience and compassion are at their strongest when all members come together as one.

With the inaugural National Day for Truth and Reconciliation prioritizing raising awareness about the legacy of residential schools, Kanehsatake is concentrating on ensuring September 30 is a commemorative day rooted in communal support.

“We are a community that can be very divided at times, but if we can all come together today with this one goal, we will all be achieving it together,” said Jadyn Lauder, who is the Social and Community Service lead for the Kanesatake Health Center (KHC), and one of the organizers behind the Orange Shirt Day six-kilometre walk put together by the local health center.

“Today is about making our voices heard, making our voices loud and reminding people that this isn’t just about a one-day thing – we need to continue this throughout the year.”

As community members slowly gathered at the departing point outside Ratihén:te High School on Thursday, a joint fundraiser for the local Kanien’kéha language program was also underway.

On the ground, community members were greeted with a table assembled with homemade baked goods, including mini pumpkin pies and candy apples, along with t-shirts and stickers with the words “Unceded Land” written across them.

“When we made stickers and t-shirts, we saw that it started to become a movement and that people were interested in the fundraiser,” said Kahontanoron Deer, who launched the latest campaign to raise funds for Ratiwennenhá:wi alongside her cousin.

“We’ve been getting donations from wonderful people. And we’re so thankful that people actually care about this.”

Pushing language revitalization efforts on this commemorative day was a meaningful statement for the pair.

“The residential school system was an act of cultural genocide – they stole the children away from the family as young as three years old to send them to church-run boarding school to ‘kill the Indian and save the child’ which is the main reason our language and culture is dying,” explained Deer. “This is why I’m raising money for the language program in my community that helps us reconnect.”

With continued attention on health and collective healing, the day began with a morning tobacco burning attended by Kanehsata’kehró:non before the group led a march along the quiet streets of the community’s residential area.

“The idea was for us to stay in the community to be as safe as possible, so that everyone, including mothers with strollers and the elders, could take part,” explained Lauder, adding that rather than making a large public statement, the community focused on collective well-being. “We want everyone to get together in a safe environment while exercising at the same time – it’s the best of both worlds.”

Lauder estimated that around 215 participants took part in the march.

Keeping in line with the goal of the day’s activity, Kanehsata’kehró:non Jeffrey Nelson seized an opportunity to send an open invitation for all to meet at the community lacrosse box that afternoon.

“September 30th is very special for everybody. For myself, my grandfather went to residential school,” said Nelson, adding that his rakhsótha was a survivor. 

“When it comes to lacrosse, it’s something I played as a kid, and I figured there was no better way to bring people together than playing the Creator’s game, where we can involve kids, teenagers and everyone else.”

As the country mobilized to create awareness and push Onkwehón:we recognition forward, Kanehsata’kehró:non will continue to do so with the community’s healing always at its heart.

“Altogether, we recognize and acknowledge that this is our past, but it will not be our future,” said Lauder. “It’s together that we can all move forward.”

[email protected]

Laurence Brisson Dubreuil, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Eastern Door

Website | + posts

Laurence Brisson Dubreuil is a multimedia journalist based in Tiohtià:ke/Montreal, Canada. She holds a BA in journalism, with a minor in law and society from Montreal's Concordia University.

Laurence began reporting with The Eastern Door in the fall of 2020, after completing a fellowship with the Institute for Investigative Journalism, a national investigative organization.

Among many things, Laurence is passionate about investigative reporting, human rights, and environmental issues.

Top

Dear Readers:

As an essential service that is still open during the COVID-19 pandemic, The Eastern Door is fighting hard to keep news like this flowing, in our print product, though an online subscription at www.eastermdoor.com and here, for free, on our website and Facebook.

But when a large portion of our regular revenue has disappeared due to so many other businesses being closed, our circulation being affected by the same issue, and all of our specials canceled until the end of the year, we are looking for alternative ways to keep operations going, staff paid, and the paper out every Friday for you to enjoy.

Please consider a financial contribution to help us keep doing what we do best; telling the stories of our people in a contemporary medium – a solid, continuing archive that documents our cherished, shared history. Your kind donation will go to a newspaper that stands as the historical record, in-depth, informative and award-winning news; colourful stories, and a big boost to the local economy by employing 95 percent local workers.

Also, please consider subscribing to our e-edition, which comes out Thursday night, at www.easterndoor.com today, or pick up your copy Friday morning in Kahnawake, Kanesatake or Chateauguay. Akwesasne delivery has been suspended due to the pandemic and border issues.

We exercise real freedom of the press every single day. Without our reporters fighting for the truth our community would be missing a whole lot of facts, separated from gossip and rumors.

E-transfers are accepted and very much appreciated at: [email protected]

Maintained By WordPress Website Support