CFN will be commemorating Orange Shirt Day on Thursday, September 27th. Orange Shirt Day is the legacy of the St. Joseph Mission residential school's commemoration event originally held in Williams Lake, BC, Canada, in the spring of 2013.  It grew out of Phyllis Webstad’s story of having her new orange shirt taken away on her first day of school at the Mission. Revisiting her story each year has evolved into an annual, open and honest discussion on all aspects of residential schools. 

The date was chosen because it was during this time of year that children were taken from their homes and because it’s an opportunity to set the stage for anti-racism and anti-bullying policies for the coming school year.  It also gives teachers time to plan events, in order to ensure we are passing both the story and the lessons learned on to the next generation. Orange Shirt Day is also an opportunity for Indigenous Communities, local governments, schools, and people  from across the country to come together in the spirit of reconciliation and hope for generations of children to come.

Residential schools operated across Canada between 1831 and 1996. The earliest recognized and longest running residential school was the Mohawk Institute in Brantford, Ontario (1831 – 1962). The last federally-run residential school to be shut down was Gordon’s School in Punnichy, Saskatchewan in 1996. During the residential school era, it is estimated that 150,000 children attended these schools and approximately 80,000 survivors are still alive today.

Canadians are only just learning the details of this dark part of Canada’s history and Orange Shirt Day stresses the importance of recognizing and commemorating the resiliency and bravery of the survivors and their families. Survivors are turning to their cultural roots, reviving traditions and languages, along with finding strength in family and community to heal. It is with great pride that CFN takes part in this important day, as commemorating and supporting Orange Shirt Day is part of Canada’s path to reconciliation and a better future for all Canadians.


CFN is proud to announce the return of self defense classes at CFN. Self defense classes often lead those who participate to walk out as determined, strong, empowered individuals ready to take control of their own lives. Self defense can educate by showing us the options available to take control, build our inner strength and feel safer.

To prevent and combat gender-based violence and exploitation, women will participate in two hours of self-defense training and participate in a question & answer session with members of the Calgary Police Services and Discovery House.  In the self-defense training offered by Western Canada Martial Arts Academy, participants will gain knowledge in:

Dealing with an immediate threat (getting away quickly to safety and calling 911)
Basic self‐defense skills and awareness
Effective and efficient striking methods to quickly get away from an attacker
Use of everyday objects for defense
Environment awareness
Improving coordination and fitness

The Calgary Police Services will provide information on how to call 9-1-1, what a person's rights are, basic safety and awareness procedures, to provide assurance that CPS will assist every person in need and that no woman will be judged. Discovery House will provide information on sexual assault and violence against women and in families.  They will also be there to provide on-site crisis counselling if needed.   Participants will have the opportunity to ask questions of all speakers and trainers.

There will be a total of 32 sessions with each session being 2 hours of self-defense training followed by presentations, Q&A and snack/refreshments with Calgary Police Services and Discovery House.  These sessions will be held all over the city and although our focus is on immigrant women, any woman who wishes to participate will be accepted into this free program.  With a minimum of 15 participants per class and a maximum 30, we hope to train between 500  - 960 women and girls over the next year.

In the end, knowing that we have the ability to defend ourselves in any given situation we're put into often helps us more fully explore the world, take on new projects, meet new people and find new ways to engage with those around us. For more information or to register contact us at 403-569-3325.