Northern Secwépemc te Qelmucw (NStQ) Chiefs in B.C.’s Interior are denouncing a social media post this week that is attempting to use the Orange Shirt movement to call for a worldwide walk-out of school-aged children in support of the ‘Freedom Convoy.’
First Nations in B.C. have already voiced their opposition to the truckers’ convoy protests in Ottawa and other Canadian cities earlier this week.
But a new call to action by one of the Freedom Convoy organizers Pat King to declare Feb. 11 Orange Shirt Day has the Chiefs publicly standing in solidarity with Orange Shirt Day founder Phyllis Webstad. Webstad and the Orange Shirt Society released a statement saying the only Orange Shirt Day is Sept. 30 and the day is meant to solemnly observe the impact of residential schools in Canada.
The NStQ Chiefs echoed her sentiments in a news release Friday morning (Feb. 11).
“The Freedom Convoy has aligned itself with anti-Indigenous rhetoric and behaviours and does not reflect the movement of Orange Shirt - Every Child Matters, nor do the statements and the representations made by this group on social media, reflect any semblance of free, prior and informed consent.”
The chiefs call on all who support truth and reconciliation efforts in Canada to “end the anti-Indigenous behaviour of the Freedom 2022 convoy.”
Sept. 30 was officially declared National Day for Truth and Reconciliation with the first observance held in 2021 after grassroots organizations held Orange Shirt Day on that date for years.