Orange Shirt Day Celebrated At Local Schools

Rainbow students were wearing orange as part of a board-wide initiative to recognize the impact of residential schools on First Nation children.
Staff and students in Rainbow Schools wore orange the last week of September, as well as Monday, October 1st to show support for residential school survivors.
“Orange Shirt Day” recognizes the effects and intergenerational impacts of the residential school system on First Nation, Métis, and Inuit children in Canada.
“This important gesture brings us together in the spirit of reconciliation,” says Director of Education Norm Blaseg. “It provides an opportunity for staff to open up or continue the conversation about residential schools with students.
“Participation in Orange Shirt Day demonstrates our collective commitment to building our ongoing understanding. Wear orange and show students that every child matters.”
Orange Shirt Day began in Williams Lake, British Columbia by the St. Joseph Mission residential school commemoration project. Phyllis Webstad, a young girl from the Dog Creek reserve, attended the Mission in 1973, where her clothes were removed, including her brand new orange shirt.
Phyllis’ story inspired the Mission to declare September 30th Orange Shirt Day, as this was the time of year in which children were taken from their homes to attend residential schools.
Espanola High school teacher, Jayson Stewart says student Nevada Anwhatin led a memorial song and smudge in the Four Medicines Garden in The CALMmon at the high school as part of the school’s observation of Orange Shirt Day. And, students from AB Ellis PS also shared the Orange Shirt Story and wore plenty of the bright colour to mark the initiative.

Photos: AB Ellis Public School and Espanola HIgh School students took part in Orange Shirt Day, which marks the impact residential schools had on First Nation students. Photos supplied

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