A sea of orange filled the grandstands at the Williams Lake Stampede Grounds Thursday, Sept. 28 as students gathered to be a part of the 10th anniversary of Orange Shirt Day and National Day for Truth and Reconciliation in the lakecity.
School District 27 bused in elementary students, while students from Columneetza and Williams Lake campuses walked to the grounds where leaders shared their experiences around residential schools, and their hopes for healing and moving forward.
Students cheered and welcomed speakers, who were clearly moved by the large show of support.
“I see a sea of orange and it just fills my heart that people know what happened across Canada,” said traditional Secwépemc knowledge keeper and event MC, Mike Retasket.
“We are all here to stay and we can all take this healing journey together.”
Indigenous leaders such as Chief Willie Sellars and Chief Roger William also spoke to the hundreds of students in attendance, offering their thoughts on truth and reconciliation. Behind the grandstands students were able to participate in tie-dying, face painting and crafts and were also given pizza, fruit and a drink courtesy of the Secwépemc Health Caucus.
Truth and reconciliation event took place over the course of a week in Williams Lake to commemorate the 10th anniversary of Orange Shirt Day.