Orange Shirt Day is being observed across the Lakeland on Monday. September 30th is used to mark the remembrance of the residential school system and the victims lost to it.
Northern Lights Public Schools says all of its locations are participating in the day today, as were many schools with the Lakeland Catholic School Division. Students and staff were encouraged to wear orange after hearing the story of Phyllis Webstad, who had her orange shirt taken from her when she entered the residential school system in British Columbia.
Provincial politicians were also marking the day. Alberta Minister of Indigenous Relations Rick Wilson released a statement calling the marker “…a day to stand with Indigenous people by wearing orange and talking about our responsibility to past, present and future generations.”
“About 12,000 residential school survivors and their families live in Alberta. They are our friends and our neighbours. For generations, they have carried with them the trauma of being pulled from their families, punished for speaking their languages and, far too often, abused at the hands of their caretakers.”
“For as long as they have carried that pain, they have shown they will to overcome it. Unfortunately, Indigenous Peoples still face racism and misunderstanding.”
“The time to end that is now. Each year on Sept. 30, we put on orange shirts to honour survivors’ experiences and to acknowledge that tragic past. Each one of us bears a responsibility to support safe and inclusive environments for generations of children to come.”