Saskatchewan Lieutenant Governor Russ Mirasty was in Prince Albert Wednesday for Orange Shirt Day.
The day is held every Sept. 30 to bring greater awareness of the residential school system and its impacts on Indigenous Canadians.
As part of this year’s event, Mirasty who is an avid runner, his son Matthew and family friend William Urton ran the full 23 kilometres of the recently completed Rotary Trail.
Along the way, the runners actually passed by the residential school the Lieutenant Governor himself attended many years ago.
“I was only there for four years, which was long enough, but I do recall being there and away from my family and away from my community,” Mirasty said. “So, those kinds of thoughts come back at the same time I’m thinking, ‘I’ve come a long way from those days and happy to look to the future.’”
Mirasty added for him, a big part of Orange Shirt Day is reconciliation between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Canadians.
“You know it is a big part of our history here in Canada and never mind Saskatchewan and the other provinces and territories,” he said. “So, it’s important that we acknowledge that. And whether or not you accept it, that’s an individual choice but at the same time what I would ask, ‘Just open your mind to what it was about? Why was the system put in place and what were the results?’ In many cases, the majority of cases, it wasn’t very positive.”
Mirasty, a member of the Lac La Ronge Indian Band, is the first Indigenous Lieutenant Governor of Saskatchewan.
Orange Shirt Day was started in 2013 after B.C. residential school survivor Phyllis Jack Webstad talked about the humiliating experience of being stripped of all her clothes, including an orange shirt, on her first day of school at a public event.
(PHOTO: Left to right, Lieutenant Governor Russ Mirasty, Matthew Mirasty and William Urton shown here running the Rotary Trail in Prince Albert as part of Orange Shirt Day. Photo courtesy Office of the Saskatchewan Lieutenant Governor.)