Lieutenant Governor marks Orange Shirt Day in honour of Children of Residential Schools
- EFN Staff | September 27, 2016
Today Lieutenant Governor Vaughn Solomon Schofield joined the staff and students at Rossignol Elementary School and High School in Ile-a-la-Crosse to mark Orange Shirt Day.
“Residential Schools were destructive for the students, as well as their families, their communities, and our nation, as a whole,” said the Lieutenant Governor. “I encourage everyone to join me in wearing orange on September 30th to show our support and to affirm that every child matters.”
“Saskatchewan students learn about the history of residential schools starting in elementary and continuing through high school,” said Deputy Premier and Education Minister Don Morgan. “Ensuring that our citizens understand this part of our history is essential as we move forward on a path of reconciliation with First Nations and Métis people. Orange Shirt Day provides an opportunity to recognize and support residential school survivors in our schools and our communities.”
In partnership with the Ministry of Education, the Lieutenant Governor provided 525 orange t-shirts to students and community leaders in Ile-a-la-Crosse. Although September 30 is national Orange Shirt Day, the schools in Ile-a-la-Crosse chose to mark the day early to coincide with the Lieutenant Governor’s visit.
Orange Shirt Day was inspired by Phyllis Webstad, a residential school survivor from Williams Lake, British Columbia. Young Phyllis was wearing a brand new orange shirt for her first day of school, but the Mission Oblates quickly replaced her new shirt with the school’s institutional uniform. The experience affected Ms. Webstad’s life for many years. “I finally get it, that feeling of worthlessness and insignificance, ingrained in me from my first day at the mission, affected the way I lived my life for many years. Even now, when I know nothing could be further than the truth, I still sometimes feel that I don’t matter.” Ms. Webstad’s story is the nucleus for what has become a national movement to recognize the experience of survivors of Indian residential schools, to honour them, and to show a collective commitment to ensure that every child matters. The initiative calls for each Canadian to wear an orange shirt on September 30 in the spirit of healing and reconciliation.