Every year on September 30th, we wear orange shirts to honour residential school survivors. Orange Shirt Day grew out of Phyllis Webstad’s story of having her shiny new orange shirt taken away on her first day of school at residential school, told for the first time in May 2013. It has become an opportunity to keep the discussion on all aspects of residential schools happening annually. Orange Shirt Day is also an opportunity for First Nations, local governments, schools and communities to come together in the spirit of reconciliation and hope for generations of children to come. Phyllis published her first children’s book called “The Orange Shirt Story” which aims to bring communities together.
The Orange Shirt Society offers programs that are informative, inspiring and that teach “EVERY CHILD MATTERS.” Phyllis offers a presentation followed by discussion, or she can facilitate a longer workshop on request. Phyllis shares her story, and teaches the importance of coming together as a community by treating all people with respect.
This event is presented by the First Nations House of Learning and the UBC Learning Circle.
Individuals feeling a need or desire to access counselling services can phone the Counselling Services office at 604-822-3811, and identify they are from the “Orange Shirt Day” event. Please ask for Renee Avitan, or the Indigenous counsellor, and the front desk will take a phone number so that Renee can call the person back as soon as possible.
We would like to reiterate that everyone is welcome to our UBCLC sessions.
Our events aim to embody a safe space for everyone of all different backgrounds to have their opinions and voices equally heard.
All ages are invited and welcome to attend the The Orange Shirt day event.
Due to the sensitive and personal nature of the conversation, our speaker Phyllis has requested that the “The Orange Shirt Story” session not be recorded. Through our continual commitment to maintaining the safety of all who join us in circle, a recording of this session will not be available. We apologize for the inconvenience that this may cause. Thank you for your understanding and continued support.
About the Presenters:
Phyllis Webstad is Northern Secwpemc (Shuswap) from the Stswecem’c Xgat’tem First Nation (Canoe Creek Indian Band). She comes from mixed Secwepemc and Irish/French heritage, was born in Dog Creek, and lives in Williams Lake, BC. Today, Phyllis is married, has one son, a step-son and four grandchildren. She is the Executive Director of the Orange Shirt Society, and tours the country telling her story and raising awareness about the impacts of the residential school system. She has now published two books, the “Orange Shirt Story” and “Phyllis’s Orange Shirt” for younger children.
She earned diplomas in Business Administration from the Nicola Valley Institute of Technology; and in Accounting from Thompson Rivers University. Phyllis received the 2017 TRU Distinguished Alumni Award for her unprecedented impact on local, provincial, national and international communities through the sharing of her orange shirt story.
Orange Shirt Day Resources:
- Webpage at http://www.orangeshirtday.org/
- Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/orangeshirtdayeverychildmatters/.