In Williams Lake, National Day for Truth and Reconciliation will open at 8 a.m. with the raising of an Every Child Matters flag at city hall.
Following a letter from the Orange Shirt Society, Williams Lake city council authorized raising the Every Child Matters flag on the City’s flagpole during a ceremony on Sept. 30, 2022, to coincide with National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, also known as Orange Shirt Day.
“We feel that this is a great way to include the mayor and council to participate in the events to take place on the 30th,” noted Blair Cunningham, executive director of the Orange Shirt Society, in a letter to council.
Cunningham stated in Williams Lake the day will include a pancake breakfast at the Stampede Grounds with entertainment. At 1 p.m. the official itinerary will take place with speeches, stories and songs with drumming.
Lunch will then be available from various food vendors, he noted.
Mayor and council voted unanimously to support the flag raising, with Mayor Walt Cobb offering to open city hall early to get the flag and be there for the ceremony.
As well as speeches, a smudging ceremony and drumming, there will also be Indian Relay Races at 11:30 a.m. and again at 3:30 p.m. at the Williams Lake Stampede Grounds.
Everyone is welcome to attend.
This year is the 10th annual Orange Shirt Day, and second annual National Day for Truth and Reconciliation.
The movement was started in Williams Lake in 2013 after Phyllis Webstad told of her experience as a six-year-old child at her first day of school at St. Joseph’s Mission Residential School and how the new orange shirt her grandmother bought for her was taken away. She said it made her feel like she didn’t matter.
Webstad shared the story at a School District 27 professional development day, and was then encouraged to share it again during the Truth and Reconciliation Commission hearings which occurred in Williams Lake that same year.