Orange Shirt Day in Williams Lake. (Black Press Media file photo)

Orange Shirt Day in Williams Lake. (Black Press Media file photo)

Victoria’s third Orange Shirt Day ceremony encourages education about the residential school system

Public invited to wear orange on Sept. 30

At the end of this month, the City of Victoria invites the public to wear orange and attend the Xe xe Smun eem-Victoria Orange Shirt Day: Every Child Matters ceremony.

Orange Shirt Day is an event that encourages education about the residential school system and the harm it had on generations of Indigenous families and their communities.

The Orange Shirt Day: Every Child Matters initiative came from a woman’s – Phyllis Webstad – account of having her new orange shirt taken away on her first day at St. Joseph Mission residential school. Her story was told during a commemoration in Williams Lake in 2013. Since then, Orange Shirt Day has become a chance to keep discussion about residential schools ongoing.

The Victoria event is organized by residential school survivor Eddy Charlie and friend Kristin Spray.

READ ALSO: B.C. Legislature shines spotlight on Orange Shirt Day

“Orange Shirt Day is the day when we all come together to pay tribute to the residential school survivors for the ultimate sacrifices they made while they were in residential school,” Charlie said. “They sacrificed their language, traditions and their identity but they survived so that one day the next generation can regain that lost part of our history (and) honour the survivors today.”

The Moose Hide Campaign – a movement of Indigenous and non-Indigenous men and boys who are standing up against violence towards women and children – has also partnered with Orange Shirt Day event organizers.

The ceremony will be emceed by Bridges for Women Executive Director Victoria Lea Pruden and will consist of a blessing of the land and welcome followed by a flag raising and a moment of silence to honour those who did not survive residential schools. There will also be Indigenous and non-Indigenous performances.

Guest speakers will include Steve Sxwithul’txw, Michele Mundy and BC Minister of Advanced Education, Skills and Training Melanie Mark. They will share their personal experience with residential schools and reconciliation.

Sxwithul’txw is from the Penelakut Tribe just off Vancouver Island. He is now a television producer who grew up in Duncan and is a survivor of the Kuper Island Residential School.

Mundy is of Kwakwaka’wakw ancestry and a member of the ‘Namgis First Nation from Alert Bay. She has taught Indigenous stories at Camosun College and is the Indigenous Cultural Safety Facilitator at Island Health.

Mark is Nisga’a, Gitxsan, Cree, Ojibway, French and Scottish and is the first female First Nations MLA of B.C. and the first female First Nations cabinet minister. Her grandparents were forced to go to residential school.

Mayor Lisa Helps will also be joined by other special guests including Minister of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation Scott Fraser who will deem Sept. 30 as Orange Shirt Day in B.C.

READ ALSO: Camosun College shows its colours for Orange Shirt Day

“It is with profound sadness and grief, but also with hope for the future that we once again mark Orange Shirt Day in the City of Victoria,” Helps said. “Orange Shirt Day is an annual opportunity for learning about Canada’s residential school system, hearing the stories of courage and resilience of residential school survivors and intergenerational survivors, and grieving for those who didn’t make it home.”

T-shirts designed by artist Bear Horne, orange blankets and a children’s book by Webstad called The Orange Shirt Story can be purchased for $20 at Big Wheel Burger’s three locations, Caffe Fantastico, Delhi Cafe and Fernwood Yoga Den as well as at the ceremony.

All proceeds go towards supporting the initiative.

The ceremony takes place on Sept. 30 from noon to 3 p.m. in Centennial Square.


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

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

Just Posted

Francina Mettes and Thomas Schouten with the 200-page document they submitted in December of 2018. (Travis Paterson/News Staff)
Dutch 94-year-old in Saanich earns permanent Canadian residency

Couple of 45 years to stay together in Cadboro Bay

Ron MacDonnell leans over the railing on Beacon Wharf Tuesday afternoon. The Town of City is currently looking into the future of the aging structure. It could make way for a concrete pontoon once part of the floating bridge over Hood Canal in Washington State. (Wolf Depner/News Staff)
Sidney explores public-private partnership for iconic Beacon Wharf

Wharf committee recommends town invite pontoon company to submit proposal

Perrin Beatty, president and CEO of the Canadian Chamber of Commerce, is shown during a news conference in Ottawa in 2015. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld)
Isolating provinces is a bad idea, says Canadian Chamber of Commerce

National business organization calls for cohesive approach to COVID-19 measures

SD62 bus driver Kerry Zado said it’s common to see drivers lose their patience and pass by his bus while he’s picking up students during the morning commute. (Aaron Guillen/News Staff)
School bus driver laments motorists who pass while red lights are flashing

All buses in Sooke School District outfitted with stop sign cameras

Metchosin Coun. Kyara Kahakauwila is stepping down as deputy mayor following controversy over her decision to travel to Mexico in December. (Black Press Media file photo)
Councillor steps down as deputy mayor of Metchosin after controversial trip to Mexico

Mayor hopeful mediation will help council get back to the business of community

Maj.-Gen. Dany Fortin, vice-president of logistics and operations at the Public Health Agency of Canada, speaks at a news conference on the COVID-19 pandemic in Ottawa, on Friday, Jan. 15, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang
B.C. records 500 new COVID-19 cases Wednesday, 14 deaths

Outbreak at Surrey Pretrial jail, two more in health care

(Black Press Media file photo)
From arts to environment, nominate your West Shore hero

Nominations for the Goldstream Gazette’s Local Hero awards are open

Vancouver Canucks’ Travis Hamonic grabs Montreal Canadiens’ Josh Anderson by the face during first period NHL action in Vancouver, Wednesday, Jan. 20, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Horvat scores winner as Canucks dump Habs 6-5 in shootout thriller

Vancouver and Montreal clash again Thursday night

Rod Bitten of Union Bay won $500,000 in the Lotto Max draw on Jan. 15. Photo supplied
Vancouver Island electrician gets shocking surprise with $500K Extra win

Rod Bitten has been hard at work with home renovations, which is… Continue reading

Oyster River Fire Rescue members were called out to a suspicious fire in Black Creek. Two vehicles parked at a private residence were destroyed by fire. Photo courtesy Oyster River Fire Rescue
Suspicious fire destroys two vehicles at Vancouver Island residence

Oyster River Fire Rescue personnel were dispatched to a fire at a… Continue reading

Southern resident killer whales in B.C. waters. Research shows the population’s females are more negatively influenced by vessel traffic than males. (Photo supplied by Ocean Wise Conservation Association)
Female orcas less likely to feed in presence of vessel traffic: study

Research the southern resident population raises concerns over reproduction capacity

Eighteen-year-old Aidan Webber died in a marine accident in 2019. He was a Canadian Junior BMX champion from Nanaimo. (Submitted)
Inadequate safety training a factor in teen BMX star’s workplace death in 2019

Aidan Webber was crushed by a barge at a fish farm near Port Hardy

A suspect has been arrested in connection with fires at Drinkwater Elementary (pictured) and École Mount Prevost. (Kevin Rothbauer/Citizen)
Arson suspect arrested after fires at Cowichan Valley schools

Drinkwater Elementary and Mount Prevost schools hit within a week

Most Read