Every child matters: Show your support for Orange Shirt Day
Honour residential school survivors by wearing orange on Monday, Oct. 1
Dressed in the shiny orange shirt her grandmother scrimped to buy, six-year-old Phyllis Webstad eagerly waited for the bell to ring at the Mission residential school in 1973. When she walked through the doors, the shirt - along with her excitement - were stripped from her by school officials. Phyllis grew to connect the colour orange with feeling worthless, frightened and alone.
Today, the orange shirt is an emblem of the abuse suffered by children in residential schools. Orange Shirt Day is observed across the country in the spirit of reconciliation and as a reminder that every child matters.
"It's important that we pause to reflect on this chapter in our shared history, in particular as an educational institution," says Heather Magotiaux, Vice President, External Relations. "SAIT will recognize Orange Shirt Day for the second year on Oct. 1."
Whether you're a SAIT student, faculty or staff member, show your support for Orange Shirt Day by wearing orange.
"When I got home from work after Orange Shirt Day last year, my granddaughters called me and they were crying," says Jean Dube, Indigenous Student Advisor, Chinook Lodge Resource Centre. "They also had Orange Shirt Day at school."
"'It didn't happen grammy - did it happen?' they asked, and I said ‘yes, residential schools happened, terrible things happened' and we talked about it."
Dube's father didn't go to residential school - he was hidden by family members when the police came - but knowing about his experience, and being aware of the experiences of others who did go, still affected her.
"The biggest thing I ask is that people know and understand the effects of history on the Indigenous Peoples," she says. "Now my grandchildren are understanding it and that's part of why Orange Shirt Day is important - part of what warms my heart."