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Orange Shirt Day to Remember the Children

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Date(s) - 09/30/2023
2:00 pm - 6:00 pm

Courthouse Park


Orange Shirt Day–Mother Lode’s 2nd Memorial Ceremony to Remember the Children

You’re invited to a gathering to honor more than 200,000 Indigenous children, who were forced into Indian Boarding Schools across the United States from the early 1800’s until the 1980’s. These children were taken far away from their families, stripped of their traditional cultures, and mistreated. Many died, and even more suffered great trauma. Numerous residents of our area are descendants of Indian Boarding School survivors. Working with the tribal councils of The Chicken Ranch Rancheria of Me-Wuk Indians of California and The Tuolumne Band of Me-Wuk Indians, we will remember our ancestors. We hope to build understanding and awareness. This year we also honor our future. As Indigenous People, we stand together to say, “We are Still Here.”

Beginning at 2pm we will offer a Family Activity Time where children can see Native Dancers, Native Drummers, and hear Native Storytellers. There will also be arts & crafts projects that are tied into these stories of remembrance. At 4pm the Memorial Ceremony will begin with offerings from leaders of both our local federally recognized tribal nations. Traditional dancer Waylon Coates (Southern Sierra Miwok) will welcome attendees. Two guest speakers, both of whom survived this system, will share their journeys. 95-year-old Julia Parker (Pomo & Coastal Miwok) was taken to a boarding school, but she rebuilt her cultural life as a beloved California basketmaker. She’ll be joined by her daughter Lucy Parker (Southern Sierra Miwok) who carries on Julia’s legacy. Then Native flutist Mary Youngblood (Aleut & Seminole) will tell her story of how the boarding schools impacted her life. The Memorial’s emcee will be Dr. Stephanie Beaver-Guzman (Hupa & now married into Tuolumne Band of Me-Wuk). The Me-Wuk Women’s Drumming Circle and the Me-Wuk Men’s Traditional Singers will share traditional music. Joining them will be long-time civil rights advocate Mark Dyken with Grandmother Drum.

This is event is open to the public and is free. We ask that you bring a low camping chair, a water bottle, and sun-protection. Please remember that this is a Memorial Service, and we ask for your kind respect for this occasion. Anyone interested in volunteering should contact Orange Shirt Day-Mother Lode committee members, BZ Smith or Shelley Muniz