Students at Pineridge Elementary School learned about the origins of Orange Shirt Day, held on Sept. 30 each year, which is to educate and promote awareness of the residential school system and it’s impact on First Nations communities in Canada.
Pineridge School Principal Debra Fabbi said students in all grades learned the story of Phyllis Jack Webstad and the experience she had as a six-year old girl on her first day at a residential school.
Students of all levels learned about some the dark days in Canadian history buy taking part in classroom exercises, reading books, decorating windows with the official tag line “Every Child Matters”, as well as participating in reconciliation walks around the community.
Fabbi said this year events at the school for Orange Shirt Day were low key due to COVID-19 restrictions. In past years there have been school assemblies, speaking guests, videos, music and more interaction to signify the day.
Students at the school were encouraged to wear an orange shirt. Some of the shirts worn by students and staff were designed by a local SD 52 student.
The orange Shirt Day movement originated in 2013 after Webstad shared her story of being stripped of her orange shirt, a gift from her grandmother, on her first day at St. Joseph Mission Residential School and how her time there affected her sense of cultural identity when the school system tried to assimilate indigenous students by erasing their First Nations identity.
K-J Millar | Journalist
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