Schools, classes and employees are invited to participate in Orange Shirt Day: Every Child Matters, in honour of those people who attended residential schools and to indicate our collective spirit of reconciliation and hope for future generations. The actual day of recognition is September 30, however, since we have a PA day, schools are being invited to celebrate day on Monday, October 1, 2018.
Orange Shirt Day: Every Child Matters is an outcome of the St. Joseph Mission Residential School commemoration event that took place in Williams Lake, British Columbia. Residential school’s survivor Phyllis Webstad shared how, at the age of six, her brand new shiny orange shirt was taken away the day she arrived at the Mission school. From that moment on, the color orange came to represent pain, loss and trauma for Webstad. She was haunted by the color throughout her life. “The colour orange has always reminded me of that and how my feelings didn’t matter, how no one cared, and how I felt like I was worth nothing.”
Today, the orange shirt, once associated with loss of belonging and self-worth is now becoming the symbol of recognition and honour to those people who attended residential schools and with time and continued awareness, reconciliation. It also is a sign of commitment to ensure that “Every Child Matters.” The date was chosen because it is the time of year in which children were taken from their homes to residential schools and it was thought that it would give teachers, schools and districts the opportunity to set the stage for anti-bullying and anti-racism work.
This is a National movement that has gained momentum since its inception and many schools in the Board participated last years’ Orange Shirt Day. It is an opportunity to create and begin meaningful discussion about the effects of residential schools and the legacy they have left behind. It also provides the opportunity to explore other areas of First Nations,
Métis and Inuit peoples’ history, culture and perspectives. Orange Shirt Day is an opportunity for First Nations, Métis and Inuit, local governments, schools and communities to come together in the spirit of reconciliation and hope for generations of children to come.
HPEDSB System Memo #6 - Orange Shirt Day: Every Child Matters