Commemoration of Canada Day 2021

The City of Windsor stands with Indigenous peoples in grief and shame regarding the recent horrific discoveries of hundreds of unmarked graves on the grounds of former residential schools.

To support continued education and learning regarding the historical grievances perpetrated against Indigenous peoples, the following additions have been made to the July 1, 2021, commemoration events:

  • Windsor City Hall will be illuminated orange instead of the traditional red and white on July 1, 2021;
  • A special educational video produced in partnership with Theresa Sims, an Indigenous Culture and Language Specialist who is an Elder for Ska:na Family Learning Centre, will be debuted online at 2:15 p.m. on July 1, 2021; and
  • Educational resources are being made available, and all residents are encouraged to spend some time this week increasing their understanding of the historical actions taken against Canada’s Indigenous peoples, especially children.

Sample Resources:

Reading List from Melissa Phillips, Collections Assistant at Museum Windsor

Melissa Phillips is a Museum Windsor Collections Assistant and a member of our Southwestern Ontario Indigenous community. Melissa has a Bachelor of Arts in History and a Master of Arts in History from the University of Windsor. Melissa is a member of the Oneida First Nation of the Thames and a University of Windsor–trained historian. She has spoken on the subject of museum ethics and Indigenous Peoples to the Canadian Museum Association and participated in the Ontario Museum Organization’s Museum Inclusive Leadership Project. Melissa was a key lead in the development of the Chimczuk Museum’s Original Peoples Culture and Legacy Gallery. Melissa’s master’s major research paper (thesis) focused on Indigenous child welfare policies in Canada, examining residential schools and the Sixties Scoop. She had a chance to meet and interview many Indigenous people, family members and survivors.

Melissa has prepared additional reading list for those interested in learning more about the residential school system and policy in Canada. She recommends:


“Like everyone, I am personally saddened by the recent discoveries. Canada Day provides an opportunity for reflection and learning. I strongly encourage everyone to spend some time building their understanding of this painful part of our national story. At the same time, we should recognize that Canada today serves as a beacon of hope, freedom and opportunity in a difficult world. We are the nation of residential schools. But we are also a nation known for international peacekeeping, multiculturalism and welcoming tens of thousands refugees. July 1st commemorations most appropriately recognize both the painful and positive aspects of our national identity.” – Mayor Drew Dilkens

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