Remembering the residential school experience on Orange Shirt Day
September 30 is Orange Shirt Day, a day for Canadians to recognize and reflect on the residential school experience and honour those who didn’t make it home, the survivors and their families. This year, the Government of Canada passed legislation to make it a federal statutory holiday — National Day for Truth and Reconciliation.
Though the institution was closed on September 30, we invited students, employees and the community to join us virtually for a livestreamed commemoration of Orange Shirt Day in the spirit of reconciliation.
The program featured Elder Chief Vincent Yellow Old Woman who shared his lived experience of residential school, music from singer and drummer Clarence Wolfleg and a vigil in memory of lives lost.
💻 Watch SAIT's livestreamed commemoration of Orange Shirt Day 2021
Meet Elder Chief Vincent Yellow Old Woman
SAIT was honoured to welcome Elder Chief Vincent Yellow Old Woman to share his story on Orange Shirt Day.
Vincent was previously the Chief of Siksika Nation, the second largest geographic reserve in Canada located approximately one hour east of Calgary.
Born and raised there, Vincent experienced a chaotic childhood, enduring the abuses of Canada’s residential school system for nine years. As a young person, he struggled to find the ambition to live a healthy lifestyle.
Today, he lives an accomplished and healthy life with a beautiful family. Vincent graduated from Theological College in New York State in 1975 and received his Certificate of Aboriginal Leadership, Governance and Management Excellence from the Banff Centre in 2012.
He served the Siksika members for 13 years in Council bringing a wealth of political experience and knowledge to his position as Chief, which he served as for another three years. He has sat on numerous First Nations, business, municipal, provincial and federal boards and governing bodies, and travels throughout North America as an elder providing spiritual counsel.
Meet Clarence ‘Skip’ Wolfleg
Clarence ‘Skip’ Wolfleg enriched SAIT’s Orange Shirt Day commemoration through song and drumming.
Clarence is from the Siksika Nation and is son to Clarence Wolfleg Sr., a respected Blackfoot spiritual leader, who is also a drummer with the legendary Blackfoot A1 Club Drum.
Clarence has been singing and drumming for more than 35 years. He has drummed with many groups on the powwow trail, including the Siksika Ramblers Drum, Hammer Hill Drum, Blackfoot Crossing Drum, Blackfoot Confederacy Drum, Turning Robe Singers Drum, Sorrel Rider Drum, Little Axe Drum, Blackfoot A1 Club, Rock Creek Singers and the Mandaree Singers.
He was the first drum teacher at Siksika High School and recently worked as an educator at the Glenbow Museum.
Ways to honour Orange Shirt Day at SAIT
- Wear orange on Thursday, Sept. 30 and watch SAIT’s Orange Shirt Day commemoration.
- Donate to the Kohkoms Kahsagahetin Endowment Fund or the Métis Education Foundation Endowment Fund to support Indigenous students in financial need.
- Buy an “Every Child Matters” t-shirt through SAIT — 100% of proceeds will support the Kohkoms Kahsagahetin Endowment Fund.
- Download SAIT’s Orange Shirt Day virtual background for Teams and Zoom.