ANGOLA, N.Y. (WIVB) — Friday is known as Truth and Reconciliation Day, a day to honor children who survived the indigenous residential school system in the US and Canada.

On Friday, students in the Lake Shore district placed orange pinwheels outside the high school and held a moment of silence. The students are honoring the many indigenous children who were taken from their families. For more than 100 years US and Canadian boarding schools tried to assimilate indigenous children into white society.

“It’s recognizing the negative effects of the boarding school era, an era in which the United States and Canada forcibly removed Native American children to residential schools where they were put through forced assimilation and education processes which vastly affected our way of life and our own knowledge and identity,” said Jordan Cooke, a Seneca language teacher.

The color orange is a symbol inspired by Phyllis Jack Webstad. She had a new orange shirt, a gift from her grandmother taken from her on her first day of residential school and it was never returned.

New on