Students begin their walk around town with the “Every Child Matters” banner Monday, Sept. 30. Ronan O’Doherty photo

Orange Shirt Day observed in Quesnel

Hundreds of students and First Nations elders remember the dark legacy of residential schools

Hundreds of school children gathered in LeBourdais Park to observe Orange Shirt Day on Monday (Sept. 30).

Elders from local First Nations bands, including Lhtako Dene, Nazko and Kluskus, gave moving speeches outlining the horrors they experienced due to being taken from their families and placed into residential schools.

Some of the children present would have a difficult time imagining such suffering, but they paid close attention regardless.

A minute of silence followed the speeches and then a line of students, Elders and Quesnel residents took a walk around the town to draw recognition for the day.

READ MORE: Hundreds gather in LeBourdais Park for Orange Shirt Day

Scott Fraser, Minister of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation, issued the following statement, as well:

“On Sept. 30, we join together to raise awareness of the terrible effects of the residential school system and the resulting intergenerational trauma. For more than 100 years, children were taken from their parents, subjected to abuse and made to feel ashamed of their culture.

“By participating in Orange Shirt Day each year, we act on the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Call to Action to redress the colonial legacy of residential schools. More than that, to honour survivors we must all commit to a future grounded in meaningful reconciliation — where healing is supported, rights are respected and Indigenous languages and cultures are able to thrive.

“That is why our government is responding to Article 43, which calls on governments to implement the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples as the framework for reconciliation. Legislation will be introduced this fall to bring the Province’s laws into harmony with the Declaration.

“This is a day to acknowledge the survivors of residential schools and to stand with them and their families.

“Orange Shirt Day was created by Phyllis Webstad. In 1973, at age six, she was sent to St. Joseph Mission residential school in Williams Lake, excited to wear a brand-new orange shirt. Her shirt was taken from her and she never saw it again. This emotionally damaging act made her feel as if she did not matter.

“Phyllis shared her story in 2013, using the symbolism of the orange shirt and the words ‘Every Child Matters’ in her awareness campaign.

“Let’s give those who have the courage to tell their stories a safe space to share them and an opportunity to reclaim their identities.”

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Cariboo-Prince George candidates give take on drugs, crime

Answers revolved around affordable housing and getting to the root cause of the problem

Forestry Ink: Replanting badly battered forest landscapes in B.C.

Regular columnist Jim Hilton writes about the potential for using drones in tree planting

Upcoming Sarah Hagen concert combines classical music, student artwork and The Story of Babar

This show opens the Quesnel and District Community Arts Council Children’s and Family Concert season

Fall at the Quesnel Farmers’ Market

The second-to-last outdoor market of the season featured the annual Giant Pumpkin Contest

Quesnel Community Living Association launches Empties 4 Abilities program

There are three new donation bins around the community

VIDEO: Trudeau plays defence in Maritimes today while Scheer fights for seats in Quebec

NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh, whose party has been on the rise in recent polls, is campaigning in Toronto

In the news: Sprinting to the election finish line and anger amid Manitoba storms

First Nations residents forced to evacuate their Manitoba homes after a recent snowstorm

BC Ferries sees steady traffic of post-Thanksgiving weekend travellers

Ferries filling up fast, sailing waits at some terminals

‘Save the kids!’ Dorian survivor tells the harrowing story of his Canadian wife’s death

Family held a funeral and placed Alishia Liolli’s remains in a niche at a cemetery in Windsor, Ont.

Okanagan woman, 91, votes at advance polls despite broken hip, shoulder and wrist

Angela Maynard has voted in almost every election during her lifetime

Heiltsuk Nation open first Big House in 120 years in northern B.C.

Opening means the community now has an appropriate space for spiritual and ceremonial events

Singh says NDP would form coalition with the Liberals to stop Tories

Singh was in a Liberal-held riding Sunday afternoon in Surrey where he was pressed about his post-election intentions

‘My heart goes out to the mother’: B.C. dad reacts to stabbing death of Ontario boy

Carson Crimeni, who was also 14, was bullied relentlessly, his dad says

BC Ferries filling up fast with post-Thanksgiving weekend travellers

Monday anticipated to be busiest day of the weekend

Most Read