Phyllis Webstad with her family at the first-ever Orange Shirt Day held in Williams Lake in September 2013.

Phyllis Webstad with her family at the first-ever Orange Shirt Day held in Williams Lake in September 2013.

Orange Shirt Day goes national

Orange Shirt Day is going national after last year's first-ever Orange Shirt Day, Every Child Matters event.

Orange Shirt Day is going national.

Last year the first-ever Orange Shirt Day, Every Child Matters events took place in Williams Lake and 100 Mile House, inspired by a memory shared by Phyllis Webstad.

Webstad, originally from Canoe Creek, attended St. Joseph Mission residential school for a year when she was six.

When she arrived for her first day of school, the brand new orange shirt her grandmother had bought her to wear to school, was taken away.

Even though she only stayed at the school one year, the colour orange always brought back memories.

During the Truth and Reconcilation Hearings and the St. Joseph Residential School Commemorative Project which took place in May of 2013, Webstad’s story took on a life of its own and with help of local government a community-wide celebration was held.

At the Assembly of First Nations (AFN) Chiefs Assembly in Halifax, N.S. last week, delegates passed a resolution supporting Sept. 30 as Orange Shirt Day across Canada.

It was resolved that Chiefs-in-Assembly declare the day annually, commit to brining the message home and doing their part to raise awareness behind the essence and meaning of Orange Shirt Day.

The resolution also directed the AFN executive to promote and uphold the meaning of Orange Shirt Day, Every Child Matters and pass along the message to the Canadian government and churches responsible.

Canadians will be asked to listen with open hearts to the stories of survivors and those affected by residential school to fully comprehend each other.

This is a first step in reconciliation.

Tk’emllups Indian Band Chief Shane Gottfriedson moved the resolution seconded by Chief Maureen Chapman from Skawahlook Band Sto:lo, Agassiz.

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