GUEST BLOG: Every Child Matters – Orange Shirt Day by Karla Vishloff, Edited by Avery Hulbert

Posted on
Image depicts Orange Shirt Day t-shirt logo.

Orange Shirt Day is observed annually each September 30th, in recognition of the harm and devastation that the residential school system did to communities, families and children. This day is to honour and remember those children who were lost and harmed in residential schools.

Orange Shirt Day stemmed from the accounts of a young girl from Williams Lake named Phyllis, who had her shiny new orange shirt taken away on her first day of school at the mission she was forced to attend, and it has become an opportunity to keep the discussion on all aspects of residential schools happening annually.

The date of September 30th was chosen because it is the time of year in which 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.  Orange Shirt Day is also an opportunity for all persons of Indigenous descent, local governments, schools and communities to come together in the spirit of reconciliation and hope for generations of children to come. (orangeshirt.org)

This year, September 30th lands on a Saturday, so we ask that students and staff at College of the Rockies wear their orange shirts on Friday, September 29th, in solidarity with residential school survivors and their families.

We will have a college wide group orange shirt day photo September 29th outside of the Aboriginal Gathering Place at 12 p.m. We will have light refreshments available and information on how you can support reconciliation. We also will have tours of the St. Eugene Residential School available on Friday. Contact Shaunee Murphy: smurphy2@cotr.bc.ca for more information and follow us on Facebook.

To read Phyllis’ story, visit http://www.orangeshirtday.org/phyllis-story.html

To learn more about the Ktunaxa Nation and their story of converting the residential school, visit the Ktunaxa Interpretive Centre located on the lower level of the St. Eugene Resort.

To purchase an orange shirt, visit the Aboriginal Gathering Place, lower level at College of the Rockies. All the proceeds for the shirts go the Ktunaxa Nation’s Traditional Knowledge and Language sector.