Vermilion Elementary School celebrated Orange Shirt Day on September 27.
According to http://www.orangeshirtday.org/, Orange Shirt Day is 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.
Staff and students gathered to commemorate the residential school experience, to witness and honour the healing journey of the survivors and their families, and to commit to the ongoing process of reconciliation. Celebrating Orange Shirt Day helps to promote anti-racism and anti-bullying and creates an opportunity for all Canadians to discuss their experiences and create bridges of reconciliation with one another.
In a previous School News article, Karen King said, “This day has been set aside to recognize the harm the residential school system did to children’s self-esteem and well-being. It is a day to demonstrate our commitment in ensuring that every child matters.
Forty-two years ago, Phyllis, a 6-year-old girl, was getting ready to go to school for the first time. Phyllis came from a family that did not have a lot of money, but her grandma managed to save enough to buy her a new orange shirt for school. When she arrived at the residential school, they took her shirt away and made her wear a uniform. She never saw her shirt again. From that point on, the colour orange led Phyllis to believe that her feelings did not matter and that no one cared; she felt like she was worth nothing.
We will be learning about the 150,000 plus indigenous children, who from 1831-1996, attended residential schools. We will be educated on the history of residential schools in our country, so that we may learn from it, and know that every child matters.”