Phyllis Webstad, the woman who inspired Orange Shirt Day is being joined by members of the B.C. Government Thursday to highlight the inter-generational impact of residential schools. Gaiel Farrar/Williams Lake Tribune

B.C. Legislature shines spotlight on Orange Shirt Day

Government members are joining Phyllis Webstad at the B.C. Legislature Thursday to raise awareness about the residential school legacy and her Orange Shirt Day message that “every child matters.”

The woman who inspired the creation of Orange Shirt Day is being joined by members of the B.C. Legislature Thursday to raise awareness of the residential school legacy.

Orange Shirt Society president Phyllis Webstad was in the gallery for the morning session where she was introduced by Scott Fraser, the Minister of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation, and acknowledged by Cariboo Chilcotin Liberal MLA Donna Barnett.

Webstad shared her story publicly for the first time in May 2013 during a panel discussion on the residential school legacy that took place during a School District 27 Pro-D day event in Williams Lake.

She recalled how she was sent to the St. Joseph Mission residential school near Williams Lake in 1973 as a six year old, leaving her home at Dog Creek where she lived with her grandmother because her mom left to work in canneries in the U.S. and Canada.

READ MORE: ‘Orange Shirt Day’ honours survivors

READ MORE: Delburne school student’s design selected for Orange Shirt Day

On her first day of school, Webstad was stripped of the brand new orange shirt her grandmother had bought for her.

“Nobody cared that I had feelings or that I was upset,” Webstad said at the time. “It was like I didn’t matter and I think that’s what orange meant to me.”

Her story touched the hearts of First Nations and non-First Nations and resulted in the first-ever Orange Shirt Day being celebrated in Williams Lake and 100 Mile House in September 2013.

Today Webstad said she is humbled and honoured that her orange shirt story is important to so many people and that it is a vehicle for change.

“My orange shirt story opens the door to discussion on a not so easy to talk about subject — Indian residential schools,” Webstad said. “Seeing the children in their orange shirts and learning about the true history of Canada’s First People gives me hope that the lives of my grandsons will be different and better than what I have experienced in my life.”

Government members joined Webstad on the steps of the Parliament Buildings to highlight the campaign and its message “Every Child Matters.”

Since the campaign began in 2013, Orange Shirt Day events happen throughout B.C. and Canada to raise awareness of the treatment of children at residential schools.

As for the colour orange, Webstad said it is still not a favourite, but she has learned to embrace it in a positive way to remind herself that she does matter.

Just Posted

PHOTO GALLERY: Malicous Monster Truck Tour

The Malicious Monster Truck Tour sold out to crowds of 2,500 people… Continue reading

CMTN First Nations Fine Arts program offers new advanced diploma

The 10-month program will focus on enhancing jewellery, sculpture and marketing skills

Terrace spawns new salmon art festival

This week’s featured artist: Casey Braam

Back in buisness: former Sears franchisees go it alone

Boota and Diljit Uppal’s new store opens in same location

Terrace minor softball wins big at provincials

U14 team won gold, U16 team nabbed silver in nail-biter finish, U12 placed fourth

Trudeau asks transport minister to tackle Greyhound’s western pullout

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says he’s asked Transport Minister Marc Garneau to find solutions in Greyhound Canada’s absence.

Hub for mental health and addictions treatment opens at B.C. hospital

St. Paul’s Hospital HUB is an acute medical unit that includes 10 patient beds

Restaurant Brands International to review policy over poaching employees

One of Canada’s largest fast-food company to review ‘no-poach’ franchise agreements

Calgary family’s vacation ends in tragedy on Texas highway

Three people died and four others were injured in the crash

Union construction cost competitive, B.C. Building Trades say

Non-union firms can bid on infrastructure, but employees have to join international unions

Trudeau to shuffle cabinet ahead of Liberals’ team for 2019

Trudeau could lighten the work loads of cabinet ministers who currently oversee more than one portfolio

Car calls 911 on possible impaired B.C. driver

A luxury car automatically calls Princeton police to scene of crash involving alcohol

BC Games marks 40 years in 2018

Cowichan Games a milestone for BC Games Society

VIDEO: Life’s a beach at this B.C. sand sculpting contest

More than $50,000 was up for grabs at the annual contest held in Parksville

Most Read