ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — Italian-Americans and Indigenous people of Rochester came together as community leaders proclaimed the first Sunday of October as Italian Heritage Day.

On Friday morning, Indigenous people led a walk in honor of Orange Shirt Day to call attention to the forced assimilation and killing of Indigenous children in the Canadian Indian Residential School System, which lasted until 1996.

An Italian Heritage ceremony was also held, with members of Cugini Di Roc and the Indigenous People’s Day committee speaking about the importance of celebrating heritage.

“There are so many wonderful Italians not only just in Rochester but around the world, said Committee Member Trish Corcoran. “My children went to Montessori school we love Maria Montessori, so having this day is overdue and very special to celebrate all the wonderful Italians that have offered so much to all of our experiences.”

Members of the committee also added that Rochester’s Italian community has always supported these efforts, so they wanted to collaborate and support them today.