‘Every child matters’: Orange Shirt Day remembers residential school victims

Photo: nisgaanation.ca

 

On Sept. 30 each year, thousands of people gather across Canada to remember the victims and survivors of residential schools as part of Orange Shirt Day.

The annual event is a chance to have “meaningful discussion about the effects of Residential Schools and the legacy they have left behind,” according to the Orange Shirt Society’s official website.

The event was inspired by the story of Phyllis Webstad, who wore a bright orange shirt on her first day attending a B.C. residential school in 1973, but had the shirt stripped from her, never to be seen again.

“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,” Webstad wrote on the Orange Shirt Day website. “All of us little children were crying and no one cared.”

Orange Shirt Day is marked at a time of year when children were taken from their homes and sent to these schools. It is also a chance to focus on anti-racism and anti-bullying efforts as the school year kicks off, the organization says.

Orange Shirt Day could soon become a statutory holiday. The federal government has proposed Bill C-369, which would add another such holiday to the calendar and use it to remember those who suffered in residential schools.

Sept. 30 and National Indigenous Peoples Day on June 21 are the two days rumoured for consideration.

In order for the new stat holiday to be recognized across the country, each province and territory would have to change its laws.

Source :

ctvnews

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