Local School Districts To Honour Residential School Survivors Through “Orange Shirt Day”

The Fort McMurray Public and Catholic School Districts will be honouring residential school survivors.

“Orange Shirt Day” takes place on Monday – asking students to dawn orange shirts to pay homage to those who grew up through the residential school system.

The day is an opportunity for First Nations, local governments, schools and communities to come together in the spirit of reconciliation.

FMCSD Board Chair Cathie Langmead tells Mix News they’re lucky to have the creator the day speaking to their students – about its’ significance.

“It depicts the recognition of all those students. We are honoured to have Phyllis Webstad – the creator of ‘Orange Shirt Day’, and she’ll be joining us next week, visiting schools and telling her story.”

The day was first recognized in 2013 to educate the people about the impact of the residential school system.

The date of September 30 was chosen because it’s the time of year in which Indigenous children were taken from their homes to residential schools.

It’s also an opportunity to set the stage for anti-racism and anti-bullying policies for the coming school year.

FMCSD Superintendent George McGuigan feels it will be a fantastic learning opportunity for students.

“So, we’re inviting parents and the community to come out and hear the message from Phyllis. I think it would be a very worthwhile educational experience for people.”

Webstad will be sharing the story of her experience – which began when she was put into a residential school system at six years old.

McGuigan says this will be a chance for students to acknowledge and learn about the survivors and what they lived through.

“It’s doubly important for non-Indigenous people in our school system to gain a deeper appreciation and an education as to what actually happened in the past.”

More information on the day can be found at orangeshirtday.org/Alberta.

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