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Commentary: Wearing orange for September 30

Confessions of a realistic pollyanna
MVT Rev. Darren Liepold
Rev. Darren Liepold of the Innisfail United Church. Submitted Photo

Like the vast majority of you, I was shocked this past spring when the bodies of so many children were found at residential school sites across the country.

It was a recognition that we had done wrong in our country. We had basically kidnapped children from their families and indoctrinated them in the beliefs that their culture was wrong and worthless and the white European culture was right. The pain of this abomination will last for generations to come.

I struggle with this issue on many fronts.

 As a Christian leader, I recognize the pain that was caused by my denomination to Indigenous people. Of the 139 residential schools that existed in Canada, 15 were run by the United Church of Canada and it's predecessor denominations.

Yes, we as denomination apologized for the harm caused by residential schools in 1986 and in 1998. There is still much healing that needs to be done.

As a Canadian, who grew up with the ideal of a Canadian Mosaic, I am speechless at why for so many years, society felt we could just eliminate thousands of years of history because we needed to prove that the European way was better.

As a person who discovered their Metis heritage later in life (due to my family member's shame and fear of admitting that they had aboriginal ancestors), I wonder is such hate still out there and who will the next victims be.

September 30th is Orange Shirt Day. It recognizes the story of a young aboriginal girl. She was going to residential school. Her grandmother made her an orange dress to wear to the school. When she got to the school though the staff forced her to disrobe and they destroyed her orange dress.

So, on September 30 we are asked to wear orange to remember those children's whose lives were destroyed by the horrible institution of the residential schools. Some parts of the country will be naming September 30th as a holiday (not Alberta). Will you wear orange with me? Blessings.

Rev. Darren Liepold is the minister at the Innisfail United Church where the new National Day for Truth and Reconciliation will be marked.