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SCO ‘Every Child Matters’ campaign launches in support of reconciliation

Manitoba First Nations leaders have launched a September campaign for the third year in a row, as they hope to see Manitobans reflect on the history and the legacy of Canada’s residential school system and the harm they caused to generations of Indigenous people.

“September is a significant month for all First Nations as we acknowledge the tragic legacy of residential and day schools, missing children, and the families they left behind, along with the intergenerational Survivors of those colonial institutions,” Southern Chiefs’ Organization (SCO) Grand Chief Jerry Daniels said in a media release announcing that SCO has kicked off their third annual Every Child Matters Truth and Reconciliation campaign.

The multi-media campaign will raise awareness and spark conversations about the residential school legacy through billboards and transit signs in Winnipeg, Brandon, Portage la Prairie, Dauphin, Selkirk, and Morden.

The message will also be reflected on all SCO social media streams, as well as their website, and in traditional media advertising throughout the month of September.

More than 150,000 Indigenous people in Canada were forced out of their homes and separated from their families to attend residential schools while the system ran for more than a century.

Residential schools attempted to assimilate Indigenous children into western European culture by isolating them from their own culture, religion and families, and many of those children have reported being subject to physical, mental and sexual abuse while in residential schools.

“The truth about this horrific time in Canadian history must be remembered,” Daniels said. “As we send our children back to school, our focus is on advancing reconciliation and renewing the relationship with non-Indigenous peoples based on recognition of rights, respect, and partnership.”

The campaign will conclude on Sept. 30, which marks the third annual National Day for Truth and Reconciliation and Orange Shirt Day in Canada, and there are several events planned in Manitoba and across Canada to commemorate Orange Shirt Day.

— Dave Baxter is a Local Journalism Initiative reporter who works out of the Winnipeg Sun. The Local Journalism Initiative is funded by the Government of Canada.

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