Skip to ContentSkip to Navigation
About us University College Groningen

Orange memory stone

12 October 2021
Instagram feed
Instagram feed
‘What are those orange rocks (for)?’

If you have already visited our Faculty, you might have seen them around UCG.

First of all: you can take them, any of them. Keep one, move one to another place, give one to someone else.

But what are they for?

September 30th was Orange Shirt Day. It has been since 2013. Orange Shirt Day is now also known as the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation in Canada. According to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada (TRC) the Indian Residential School system was cultural genocide. Residential schools were “a systematic, government-sponsored attempt to destroy Aboriginal cultures and languages and to assimilate Aboriginal peoples so that they no longer existed as distinct peoples.”

September 30th is regarded as an opportunity to recognise the Canadian residential school system and commemorate its legacy. The global conversation that ensue from Orange Shirt Day include anti-racism, white privilege, indigenous human rights, children’s human rights, the rights of families and cultural groups, the importance of heritage and the impact of cultural genocide.

The #orangememorystone project intends to help draw attention to and commemorate the children found in unmarked graves near residential schools across Canada.
One stone for every child.

This meaningful and creative project was initiated by our very own Dr. Bettina van Hoven a while ago.

Last week, Bettina attempted to complete the 215 stones for the children of the Tk'emlúps te Secwépemc Nation.

How can I help?

The stones are waiting for you at UCG's canteen to be decorated and distributed around town.

More information

In May this year, 215 unmarked graves were found near the former Kamloops residential school in what is now an apple-orchard. These are 215 children who were forcefully removed from their families and sent to a ‘school’ ran by the Christian Church. The sole purpose was to ‘acculturate’ indigenous children. In order to assimilate children into ‘Canadian culture’, the school system isolated Indigenous children from the influence of their own native culture and religion in order to assimilate them into the dominant Canadian culture. The residential school system was the outcome of the Indian Act and over its more than hundred year existence, about 150,000 indigenous children were placed in residential schools.

Many children were physically and mentally abused, received poor healthcare and were malnourished. Schools were overcrowded, with poor sanitation and inadequate heating. Some schools participated in scientific studies on nutrition, involving intentional malnourishment, and vaccine trials and deliberately underfed children (without parental knowledge nor consent). Over the course of time, many children disappeared. Some ran away, others died from injuries or untreated illness. No significant efforts were made to either find missing children or inform parents of the death of their children. Many children were buried in unmarked graves on residential school properties.

  • The last residential school closed in 1997.
  • In June, 751 unmarked graves were found near the former Marieval residential school in Saskatchewan.
  • In June, 182 unmarked graves were found near St. Eugenes Mission School in British Columbia.
  • In July, 160 unmarked graves were found near a former Kuper Island residential school in British Columbia.
  • 1308 children leaving holes in their families, communities, and beyond.
Last modified:15 October 2021 10.58 a.m.

More news