Remembering and Honouring Residential School Survivors

On September 30, we observe Orange Shirt Day, a movement that officially began in 2013 in British Columbia to commemorate the residential school experience, to witness and honour the healing journey of the survivors and their families, and to commit to the ongoing process of reconciliation.

It has since become a national day for meaningful discussion about the effects of Residential Schools and the legacy they have left behind. It is a day to honour survivors, to reaffirm that they matter.

The date is significant as, historically, it was during the early Fall that children were taken from their homes to residential schools, and because it is an opportunity to set the stage for anti-racism and anti-bullying policies for the coming school year. It is an opportunity for First Nations, local governments, schools and communities to come together in the spirit of reconciliation and hope for generations of children to come.

While this day has been recognized since 2013, in reality, the idea behind this day began in 1973, when six-year-old Phyllis Webstad was brought to the St. Joseph Mission Residential School outside of Williams Lake, British Columbia.

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