The Orange Shirt Committee is busy making final preparations for Orange Shirt Day coming up Sept. 30.

The Orange Shirt Committee is busy making final preparations for Orange Shirt Day coming up Sept. 30.

Preparations made for Orange Shirt Day

As WL prepares to celebrate its second Orange Shirt Day on Tuesday the Shuswap woman who inspired the day said it’s still surreal.

As Williams Lake prepares to celebrate its second Orange Shirt Day on Tuesday, Sept. 30, the Shuswap woman who inspired the day said it’s still surreal.

“There’s always the question of why me?” Phyllis Webstad said. “I cannot say it enough. I am humbled and honoured.”

Orange Shirt Day emerged after Webstad shared a story about having her brand new orange shirt taken away when she arrived to attend the St. Joseph Mission Residential School at the age of six years old.

Her grandmother was raising her in Canoe Creek and brought her to Williams Lake and bought her a new outfit.

Webstad’s story first emerged in May 2013, when she participated in a three-member panel discussion on the residential school legacy during a Pro-D  Day event for School District  27.

At the time she said it was as if she didn’t matter and from then on she could never wear the colour orange.

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.

Orange Shirt Day is a conversation starter, and has been grasped by so many people, even small children, no matter what nationality.

“Everybody can associate with what it would be like to have a child taken away,” Webstad said.

The Orange Shirt Day Facebook page has been liked by people from all over the world, including people from as far away as Australia and Webstad said she hopes one day it will be marked globally to remember residential school survivors.

Tuesday’s event will start with a Harmony Walk organized by the Canadian Mental Health Association’s  Multicultural Society, leaving in three different streams from the community garden on Carson Avenue, Marie Sharpe Elementary School on CameronStreet and Courthouse Square on Oliver Street, all arriving at Boitanio Park.

“It’s a walk we do every year commemorating different days so this year we thought we’d support Orange Shirt Day,” said walk organizer Margaret-Anne Enders.

Juno award winner Gary Fjellgaard is returning to perform and the Cariboo’s own Trevor Mack will talk about his latest film which is about residential schools.

“There will be First Nations drumming and Angela Sommer will be there with her children’s choir,” said Cariboo Regional District director Joan Sorley.

Lorelie Boyce, the Williams Lake co-ordinator for the Indian Residential School Survivor Society, said there will be mental health support workers available if anyone needs help.

“Elders Shirley David and Virginia Gilbert will do smudging as well,” she said.

Smudging is a purification ceremony used for various things, Boyce explained.

“Most people use sage around here, but they can also use juniper or tobacco.”

The act washes a person’s spirit and helps people let things go, she added.

“People can say a simple prayer, smudge their eyes, heart and ears, and ask the Creator to take it away and heal them.”

Webstad said other elders will be there to do smudge as well, and there will be a box at the event for people to put thoughts and names in.

The contents will be burnt later.

“The significance is that fire destroys,” Webstad said. “It can help alleviate the issues and is another way of letting go and offering up prayers. Fire is also the gateway to the spirit world. The box will probably be burnt at a sweat.”

School District 27’s director of instruction Gerome Beauchamp confirmed there will be children’s activities and again the BC Lions have donated orange footballs to give away.

Just Posted

North Okanagan business Hytec Kohler set up a COVID-19 vaccination clinic at the Spallumcheen plant Friday, May 14. (Jennifer Smith - Morning Star)
More than half of eligible adults in Interior Health vaccinated

Over 365,000 vaccine doses have been administered throughout the Interior Health region

Crews work to repair Horsefly Road east of Williams Lake . (Ministry of Transportation video)
MoTI activates district operations centre, response to flood damaged roads in Cariboo region

Engineers, experts being pulled from across the province to help

RCMP officers on scene Friday, May 14 off Bond Lake Road on the outskirts of Williams Lake. (Monica Lamb-Yorski photo - Williams Lake Tribune)
Update: Williams Lake RCMP arrest one suspect after firearms incident near Bond Lake Road

Given the severity, suspect is being held in custody for a court appearance

An official naming ceremony for the Nekw7usem Bridge connecting the RC Cotton Trail to Scout Island will take place Monday, May 17 at noon. (Patrick Davies file photo - Williams Lake Tribune)
City, WLFN hosting naming ceremony for Nekw7usem Bridge in Williams Lake

The pedestrian bridge connects the RC Cotton Trail to Scout Island

Patricia Froberg (from left), Pat Mitchell and Dorothy Ouellette enjoy lunch prepared by members of the Old Age Pensioners Organization for St. Patrick’s Day Wednesday afternoon. Today, May 14, the Old Age Pensioners Organization Branch 93 and the Seniors Activity Centre are hosting an Old Fashioned Drive In lunch with car hop service at the SAC parking lot from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. (Greg Sabatino photo - Williams Lake Tribune)
Old Fashioned Drive In Lunch on menu at seniors centre today, May 14

From 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m., swing on by the SAC parking lot for an Old Fashioned Drive In lunch

Daily confirmed COVID-19 cases reported to B.C. public health, seven-day rolling average in white, to May 12, 2021. (B.C. Centre for Disease Control)
B.C. preparing ‘Restart 2.0’ from COVID-19 as June approaches

Daily infections fall below 500 Friday, down to 387 in hospital

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

Bradley Priestap in an undated photo provided to the media some time in 2012 by the London Police Service.
Serial sex-offender acquitted of duct tape possession in B.C. provincial court

Ontario sex offender on long-term supervision order was found with one of many ‘rape kit’ items

Rich Coleman, who was responsible for the gaming file off and on from 2001 to 2013, was recalled after his initial testimony to the Cullen Commission last month. (Screenshot)
Coleman questioned over $460K transaction at River Rock during B.C. casinos inquiry

The longtime former Langley MLA was asked about 2011 interview on BC Almanac program

Steven Shearer, <em>Untitled. </em>(Dennis Ha/Courtesy of Steven Shearer)
Vancouver photographer’s billboards taken down after complaints about being ‘disturbing’

‘Context is everything’ when it comes to understanding these images, says visual art professor Catherine Heard

Trina Hunt's remains were found in the Hope area on March 29. Her family is asking the public to think back to the weekend prior to when she went missing. (Photo courtesy of IHIT.)
Cousin of missing woman found in Hope says she won’t have closure until death is solved

Trina Hunt’s family urges Hope residents to check dashcam, photos to help find her killer

Chief Public Health Officer Theresa Tam listens to a question during a news conference, in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Restrictions will lift once 75% of Canadians get 1 shot and 20% are fully immunized, feds say

Federal health officials are laying out their vision of what life could look like after most Canadians are vaccinated against COVID-19

Police are at Ecole Mount Prevost Elementary but the students have been evacuated. (Kevin Rothbauer/Citizen)
Gardener finds buried explosives, sparking evacuation of Cowichan school

Students removed from school in an ‘abundance of caution’

Most Read