Today, Wednesday, September 30, students and staff across the district, and citizens across the country, are wearing orange to recognize, remember and honour the children who survived the Residential School System, and to acknowledge those who did not.
Orange Shirt Day is a legacy of the St. Joseph’s Mission Residential School near Williams Lake. There, young Phyllis Webstad wore a new orange shirt for her first day of school in grade one, where it was stripped off her and taken away.
Orange Shirt Day has become an annual event across the country to keep the discussions on aspects of cultural assimilation alive and work towards healing and reconciliation with the Indigenous communities. September symbolizes the saddest part of the year for Indigenous families when children – some as young as three-years-old – were picked up and delivered to the Residential Schools. Often these same children would not be seen again by their family for 10 months; sometimes it would be years.
Delta School Board Chairperson, Val Windsor, says: “My fellow trustees and I, along with staff and students, will wear these orange shirts on Wednesday as an important reminder that #EveryChildMatters and to honour our ongoing commitment to the Calls for Action of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.”
The wolf logo design on the Delta School District t-shirts was created by Vincent Morgan, a grade 10 Tsawwassen First Nation student at Delta Secondary. His father, Karl Morgan, carved the Reconciliation Post which was unveiled on last year’s Orange Shirt Day, and stands in the School Board Office. Click here to watch a video on the making of the Reconciliation Post.