The inspiration for Orange Shirt Day

The inspiration for Orange Shirt Day

Orange Shirt Day recognized in lakecity

Work hard, listen to your parents, be respectful and get an education.

Work hard, listen to your parents, be respectful and get an education.

That was just some of the advice given to the many children attending the third annual Orange Shirt Day in Boitanio Park Wednesday.

“Know who you are — be proud of who you are because you do matter,” said Kamloops Indian Band Chief Shane Gottfriedson.

Orange Shirt Day — Every Child Matters came out of the Truth and Reconciliation commission when it travelled through Williams Lake in 2013. At the time Canoe Creek/Dog Creek resident and residential school survivor Phyllis Webstad told her troubling story about being six years old and taken to residential school, where her new orange shirt was taken away.

Speaking to the children about the experience again this year, Webstad said the colour orange was a life-long trigger of those difficult memories, including being separated from her parents.

“Can you imagine going somewhere for 300 sleeps?” she asked the children.

Before leading the crowd in an opening prayer, Williams Lake Indian Band elder Jean William said the month of September — a time when children go back to school — has always been difficult for her people.

“It brings back memories,” William said. “When we see our friends struggling — we understand. It’s ingrained in us. It’s deep.”

Chief Ann Louie of the Williams Lake Indian Band also took to the stage to talk about the present difficulties surrounding First Nations children in care, and the inequalities many of her people experience being First Nations.

“We are like every other person in the province but we are not treated the same and that has to change,” Louie said, noting the importance of events like Orange Shirt Day

“This is a powerful day — I’m thankful to Phyllis for sharing her story.”

Young children in attendance were treated to learning a traditional drum song from Mike Retasket while secondary students were put in a group and asked how the school system could be more successful.

Then, while the children drummed their new song, the crowd gathered at the Truth and Reconciliation monument in Boitanio Park where carver Dean Ross unveiled a new carving to replace damage to a historical photo of the St. Joseph’s Mission Residential School on the original monument.

“It’s all about the healing, the journey,” Ross said of his carving of an eagle, to replace that of the image of the school.

“I hope they get a little sense of healing — they can look at it, touch it and hopefully it will make them feel a little better.”

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

Just Posted

Seniors in the Interior Health region can book their COVID-19 vaccinations starting Monday, March 8, 2021 at 7 a.m. (File photo)
Seniors in Interior Heath region can book COVID-19 shots starting Monday

Starting March 8 the vaccination call centre will be open 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily

Lorne Doerkson is the Liberal MLA for the Cariboo-Chilcotin. (Black Press Media file photos)
MLA’s CORNER: Premier Horgan needs to work harder

There are lots of people out there who are in desperate need of assistance

The first Chimney Creek Roadhouse, constructed in 1864. (Photo courtesy of the B.C. Provincial Archives)
HAPHAZARD HISTORY: The Isnardy family of Williams Lake

Amadee Isnardy was born in 1840 near Nice, France

Jim Hilton pens a column on forestry each week for the Quesnel Observer.
FOREST INK: Ecological economics not a popular topic for most people

The following is a review of the no (or slow) growth concept

Do you have a letter? Email us at
LETTER: BC Liberals left ICBC a mess: Farnworth

Our BC NDP government has worked tirelessly to fix the mess that was left behind

The James C Richardson Pipe Band marches in a Remembrance Day parade on Nov. 11, 2019 in Chilliwack. Wednesday, March 10 is International Bagpipe Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of March 7 to 13

International Bagpipe Day, Wash Your Nose Day and Kidney Day are all coming up this week

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Victoria man Brett Andersen is asking for people’s help to secure him one of eight free tickets to the moon. (Screenshot/@brettandersen Instagram)
Victoria man wants your help securing a free ticket to the moon

Japanese billionaire offering eight people a trip to the moon

The Conservation Officers Service is warning aquarium users after invasive and potentially destructive mussels were found in moss balls from a pet store. (BC Conservation Officers Service/Facebook)
Aquarium users in B.C. warned after invasive mussels found at pet store

Conservation officers were told the mussels were found in a moss ball from a Terrace pet store.

Hockey hall-of-fame legend Wayne Gretzky, right, watches the casket of his father, Walter Gretzky, as it is carried from the church during a funeral service in Brantford, Ont., Saturday, March 6, 2021. HE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Walter Gretzky remembered as a man with a ‘heart of gold’ at funeral

The famous hockey father died Thursday at age 82 after battling Parkinson’s disease

Donald Alan Sweet was once an all star CFL kicker who played for the Montreal Alouettes and Montreal Concordes over a 13-year career. Photo courtesy of Mission RCMP.
Ex-B.C. teacher who was CFL kicker charged with assault, sexual crimes against former students

Donald Sweet taught in Mission School District for 10 years, investigators seek further witnesses

During a press event on March 6, Const. Alex Berube, media relations officer for the West Shore RCMP, addressed a deadly shooting that occurred in Metchosin the night before. (Devon Bidal/News Staff)
VIDEO: One man shot dead on Vancouver Island in ‘targeted incident’

Highway 14 reopens following multi-hour closure for investigation

Personal protective equipment is seen in the COVID-19 intensive care unit at St. Paul’s hospital in downtown Vancouver. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
$16.9 million invested to improve worker safety, strengthen B.C.’s food supply chain

Money to be used for social distancing, personal protective equipment, cleaning, and air circulation

Most Read