On Monday, Northlea will be celebrating Orange Shirt Day. This day acknowledges the residential school system in Canada, honours those who survived, and remembers those who did not. It is a day to demonstrate, by wearing orange, that all students matter.
It began in 2013, by Phyllis Webstad, a member of the Stswecem’c Xgat’tem First Nation in British Columbia who was forced to attend St. Joseph’s Mission Residential School, as her relatives before her. She entered the school in 1973 wearing a brand new orange shirt which was immediately confiscated by the staff and replaced with a uniform. She never saw the shirt again and began to associate the colour with the traumatic experiences in the school and the loss of language and cultural identity she suffered.