September 30, 2021 - On this first National Day for Truth and Reconciliation and 8th year of Orange Shirt Day, Canadians stood in solidarity with the Indigenous survivors of residential schools and paid homage to the children who never returned to their families and communities.
Making a commitment to learning about the history of residential schools and the continued negative impact on families and communities is a vital first step in the reconciliation process, said Aramark President Andy Siklos, who urged employees to breathe life into the company’s “Statement on Reconciliation and Working with Indigenous Peoples” toward achieving the ultimate goal of reconciliation.
“We can make an impact, through our hiring, procurement and our commitment to community benefits—all of which help Aramark address the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Calls to Action for corporate Canada to support economic reconciliation with Indigenous peoples,” said Siklos.
Amy Rose, Aramark Director of Indigenous Relations, shared what this day means to her and her family:
“As a second-generation residential school survivor, what September 30th did was formalize a day of recognizing the resilience of residential school survivors. My grandmother was in residential school for 10 years, starting at the age of seven.
With all of the discoveries at former residential schools coming to light in the media, my family and I are both triggered but also relieved that this part of our history is finally being realized.
As a proud Indigenous woman, living in the footsteps of my mother, our shared goal is to build strong relationships with our Indigenous communities and to create employment and business opportunities for our peoples. While I have only been working with Aramark for a short time, as the Director of Indigenous Relations, I am proud to be a part of several teams that are dedicated to the advancement of Indigenous peoples, as we continue down the path of economic reconciliation.”
To mark this day of reflection and remembrance, several Aramark employees wore orange t-shirts, masks and wrist bands with the inscription “Every Child Matters,” while others also paid tribute to the richness of the Indigenous culture through one of our core values: food.
Phyllis Webstad, of the Canoe Creek/Dog Creek First Nation, shares her story about her experience at a residential school that was the impetus behind Orange Shirt Day. Watch the video.