Orange Shirt Day is celebrated across Canada on September 30th, as National Truth and Reconciliation Day. It is a day to honour and remember residential school survivors and their families, and those who never made it home. The end of September was chosen because it is the time of year in which children were taken from their homes to residential schools.
Phyllis Webstad, a residential school survivor herself, initiated the day in 2013 and today it is celebrated across the country. Phyllis was taken to residential school as a young girl of 6 years old where her brand new orange shirt that her grandmother had bought her for school was taken away. She felt all alone.
The Swift Current Comprehensive High School is honoured to have been selected by the Assembly of First Nations and the Office of the Treaty Commissioner, in partnership with Saskatchewan School Boards Association, to be one of two schools in the province to receive orange t-shirts and host an event.
The event at SCCHS was attended by 1,100 students, staff, special guests and dignitaries including the Elder Sylvia Thorburn, Swift Current MLA Everett Hindley, Swift Current Deputy Mayor George Bowditch; as well as Chinook Board representatives and staff. The program was emceed by students Kassidy Painchaud and Owen Ljundggren, and began with a prayer given by Elder Sylvia Thorburn, followed by the students showcasing what they have been learning about residential schools. Students and guests also watched a video message from Chief Perry Belgrade, from the Assembly of First Nations, to speak about the significance of the day. Chinook Board Chair Kim Pridmore closed with acknowledgements.
Our students, staff, families and school communities are learning about residential schools because Chinook School Division is dedicated to moving forward in partnership with Indigenous communities in a spirit of reconciliation and collaboration. A part of this is learning, remembering, and honouring. #everychildmatters