This year the Canadian Government made Orange Shirt Day, September 30th 2021, a Statutory Holiday. This means we are not in school today, so as a school we celebrated Orange Shirt Day yesterday!
Due to the fact there is a literal shortage of orange tee shirts in Canada, not all of our staff and students shirts came in on time. As soon as they do, we will hand them out.
Why Do We Wear Orange?
Info From: https://beyond.ubc.ca/orange-shirt-day/
1. Orange Shirt Day references a real orange shirt taken from a residential school survivor.
Now an adult, Phyllis Webstad still remembers the new orange shirt that her grandmother bought for her when she was six years old. She wore it proudly on her first day at a church-run residential school in Williams Lake, B.C. But then school authorities stripped her of her clothes, cut her hair and took her shirt away. She never got it back.
“The colour orange has always reminded me of how my feelings didn’t matter, how no one cared,” she writes. “I went to a treatment center for healing when I was 27 and have been on this healing journey since then. I finally get it, that the feeling of worthlessness and insignificance, ingrained in me from my first day at the mission, affected the way I lived my life for many years.”
2. The day aims to raise awareness of the residential school system in Canada
Webstad is one of more than 150,000 First Nations, Métis and Inuit children who attended Indian residential schools in Canada between the late 1800s and 1996. These schools were operated by the Canadian government and church organizations and were part of Canada’s official policy that aimed to eliminate Indigenous Peoples’ languages and cultures and, through assimilation, cause them to cease to exist as distinct peoples.
It is estimated that between four to six thousand children died at residential schools. Ans that’s just in Canada.
3. Wearing an orange shirt reminds us of the impact of residential schools still felt today
Residential schools are not far in the past; the last one closed in 1996. As Webstad’s story attests, many survivors are still coping with the trauma from their time at the schools, including physical and sexual abuse. The intergenerational impact is still felt through communities.
Orange Shirt Day was created as an opportunity to discuss the effects of residential schools and their legacy. It honours the experiences of Indigenous Peoples, celebrates resilience and affirms a commitment that every child matters.
Today the community, including many of our staff and students, went on a memory walk.
PS. Yesterday was our principal, Mr. Blaine’s Birthday! Happy Birthday Mr. Blaine!