BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — Seneca Gaming honored the 215 children’s bodies discovered in Canada on Thursday by observing an ‘Orange Shirt Day’ at all three of their locations. Seneca Nation member and Assistant General Manager at Seneca Buffalo Casino, Marc Papaj, said after hearing about the bodies that were found at a residential school in Canada, he wanted to bring awareness across the border.
"We hope to be loud and clear on our stance on this,” Papaj said. "We are wearing ribbons, and we even changed the lighting at the bar to reflect orange lights."
"It was actually one of my slot attendants who brought it to my attention the other night. They said 'you know tomorrow everyone is wearing orange. Can we make that happen?” Papaj explained. “I had to Google it a little bit to find out what the color orange signifies."
The color orange comes 'Orange Shirt Day,’ which is observed in Canada on September 30 to educate people on the impact residential schools had on indigenous communities.
"There is definitely a sad tone to all of us today,” Papaj said. “While we are a place of entertainment, we can also bring awareness to the issues out there."
In addition to orange ribbons, at 2:15 on Thursday afternoon, all three locations went silent for the 215 children’s lives that were lost.
"All of Western New York probably has ties to many different native people across the country and in North America. This is a way for us to bring awareness and draw attention,” Papaj said. "We need to be more vocal, and this is our way to get the word out and to shed light on the stuff issues."