Denver Indian Family Resource Center participates in Orange Shirt Day and recognizes those killed in residential schools – CBS Denver
DENVER (CBS4)– September 30 is Orange Shirt Day in Canada. People wear orange shirts to raise awareness of boys and girls killed and abused in residential schools.
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Recently, the trend has spread to the United States and this year for the first time, the Denver Indian Family Resource Center is hosting a Healing Celebration to honor those affected.
“I would say most of the Aboriginal people in their families have had or have been residential school survivors,” says Alyssa Willie, family engagement specialist at the Denver Indian Family Resource Center.
In the 19th century, the United States established residential schools. Willie says the goal was to erase Indigenous cultures from children and that there were stiff penalties for resistance.
“If they spoke their language, they were mistreated,” she says. “Iron discipline. Harsh discipline. Basically, abuse. Physically. Mentally and sexually.
These schools were located across the country, including Colorado, at the Teller School in Grand Junction. That’s why the DIFRC is having an event at noon on Saturday at the DU campus, but instead of reliving the trauma, the center is focusing on the future.
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Willie says, “Our Saturday event is to provide a space for healing and advocacy.”
The event is open to the public. They will have song, dance, speakers and resources for Aboriginal families. They hope this will not only help Denver’s Indigenous community, but also educate the broader Colorado community.
“We hope to see people there,” Willie says.
It is important to remember that this abuse took place not so long ago. In some families, it is only a generation behind. Saturday is the healing event for these families, so they ask you to be respectful if you go. If you would like to attend, you can find more information here:
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To help with a financial donation, you can donate at the Denver Indian Family Resource Center website. https://difrc.org/donate-now/.