Friday, September 29- ORANGE SHIRT DAY @ QES.
What is Orange Shirt Day?
Orange Shirt Day is held every year on September
30th, but will be observed in schools on Friday September 29.
Orange Shirt Day is a legacy of the St. Joseph Mission (SJM)
Residential School (1891-1981) Commemoration Project and Reunion events that
took place in Williams Lake, BC, Canada, in May 2013. This project was the
vision of Esketemc (Alkali Lake) Chief Fred Robbins, who is a former student
himself. It brought together former students and their families from the Secwepemc,
Tsilhqot’in, Southern Dakelh and St’at’imc Nations along with the Cariboo
Regional District, the Mayors and municipalities, School Districts and civic
organizations in the Cariboo Region.
The events were designed 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. Chief
Justice Murray Sinclair challenged all of the participants to keep the
reconciliation process alive, and as a result of the realization that every
former student had similar stories. Orange Shirt Day is a legacy of this
project. As spokesperson for the Reunion group leading up to the events, former
student Phyllis (Jack) Webstad told her story of her first day at residential
school when her shiny new orange shirt, bought by her grandmother, was taken
from her as a six-year old girl.
The annual Orange Shirt Day on September 30th opens the door to
global conversation on all aspects of Residential Schools. It is an opportunity
to create meaningful discussion about the effects of Residential Schools and
the legacy they have left behind. A discussion all Canadians can tune into and
create bridges with each other for reconciliation. "A day or reaffirmation for survivors that
they, as well as all others who have been affected, do indeed matter. Hence the
slogan: Every Child Matters - and every person was once a child.
"The date was chosen to coincide with the time of year in which
indigenous children were taken from their homes to attend residential schools.
It is also an opportune time in the school year to set the stage and the tone
for anti-racism and anti-bullying schools policies. 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.
It all started in the Cariboo
Region, and as a result, School District No. 27 has been chosen by the First
Nations Education Steering Committee (FNESC) to pilot curriculum changes for
all Grade 5 and Grade 10 students reflecting the residential school experience,
to be implemented province-wide.
Resolutions have been passed in support of Orange Shirt Day by local
governments, school districts, and First Nations in the Cariboo Region, at
UBCM, and at FCM. The AFN Chiefs-in-Council passed a resolution declaring
Orange Shirt Day “a first step in reconciliation”, and pledging to bring the
message home as well as to the government of Canada and the churches
responsible. On this day, we call upon humanity to listen with open ears to the
stories of survivors and their families, and to remember those who didn’t make