Phyllis Webstad, the woman who inspired Orange Shirt Day is being joined by members of the B.C. Government Thursday to highlight the inter-generational impact of residential schools. Gaiel Farrar/Williams Lake Tribune

B.C. Legislature shines spotlight on Orange Shirt Day

Government members are joining Phyllis Webstad at the B.C. Legislature Thursday to raise awareness about the residential school legacy and her Orange Shirt Day message that “every child matters.”

The woman who inspired the creation of Orange Shirt Day is being joined by members of the B.C. Legislature Thursday to raise awareness of the residential school legacy.

Orange Shirt Society president Phyllis Webstad was in the gallery for the morning session where she was introduced by Scott Fraser, the Minister of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation, and acknowledged by Cariboo Chilcotin Liberal MLA Donna Barnett.

Webstad shared her story publicly for the first time in May 2013 during a panel discussion on the residential school legacy that took place during a School District 27 Pro-D day event in Williams Lake.

She recalled how she was sent to the St. Joseph Mission residential school near Williams Lake in 1973 as a six year old, leaving her home at Dog Creek where she lived with her grandmother because her mom left to work in canneries in the U.S. and Canada.

READ MORE: ‘Orange Shirt Day’ honours survivors

READ MORE: Delburne school student’s design selected for Orange Shirt Day

On her first day of school, Webstad was stripped of the brand new orange shirt her grandmother had bought for her.

“Nobody cared that I had feelings or that I was upset,” Webstad said at the time. “It was like I didn’t matter and I think that’s what orange meant to me.”

Her story touched the hearts of First Nations and non-First Nations and resulted in the first-ever Orange Shirt Day being celebrated in Williams Lake and 100 Mile House in September 2013.

Today Webstad said she is humbled and honoured that her orange shirt story is important to so many people and that it is a vehicle for change.

“My orange shirt story opens the door to discussion on a not so easy to talk about subject — Indian residential schools,” Webstad said. “Seeing the children in their orange shirts and learning about the true history of Canada’s First People gives me hope that the lives of my grandsons will be different and better than what I have experienced in my life.”

Government members joined Webstad on the steps of the Parliament Buildings to highlight the campaign and its message “Every Child Matters.”

Since the campaign began in 2013, Orange Shirt Day events happen throughout B.C. and Canada to raise awareness of the treatment of children at residential schools.

As for the colour orange, Webstad said it is still not a favourite, but she has learned to embrace it in a positive way to remind herself that she does matter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Comments are closed

Just Posted

White Rock boosts parking enforcement budget

Staff suggests city-wide review of regulations and best practices

Blustery South Surrey walk to benefit homeless

Patricia Mulvaney is walking 10k to boost awareness of Surrey Urban Mission Society

Cloverdale students make puzzles for care home residents

Students from Cloverdale’s Sunrise Ridge delivered gifts to seniors and thank you notes to first responders

Easter Seals drop zone returning to Surrey as ‘great no-contact event’

Health and safety a ‘top priority’ for annual event

COLUMN: Timing just right for raising minimum wage

Raising minimum wage will protect human life and reduce poverty, writes Garber Black

All community COVID-19 outbreaks declared over in B.C.

Abbotsford manufacturer cleared by Dr. Bonnie Henry

B.C. First Nations vow to keep fighting after Trans Mountain pipeline appeal denied

Squamish Nation, Tsleil-Waututh Nation and Coldwater Indian Band made the application

‘Queue jumpers’ not welcome in B.C. as COVID-19 U.S. cases rise: Horgan

Premier Horgan said he’s heard concerns that Americans have stopped at Vancouver hotels instead of heading to their destination

Police arsenal deployed to avoid potentially violent situation: Mounties

Langley RCMP arrest armed Vancouver man after Tasering him on side street

US officer resigns after photos, connected to death of black man in 2019, surface

Elijah McClain died, last summer, after police placed him in a chokehold

Black worker files discrimination complaint against Facebook

Oscar Veneszee, Jr. has worked as an operations program manager at Facebook since 2017

Nestle Canada selling bottled water business to local family-owned company

The Pure Life bottled water business is being sold to Ice River Springs

US unemployment falls to 11%, but new shutdowns are underway

President Donald Trump said the jobs report shows the economy is “roaring back”

Most Read

l -->