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

New affordable housing in the works for East Trail

The proposal involves tearing down the old McBride Manor house and building a “nine-plex”

Snow hosts available to help you explore the Rossland Range

Safe and responsible way to learn about Rossland Recreation Site

Kootenay view from the top

Blue skies greeted those who ventured to the top of Granite Mountain

Trail cannabis shop gets green light from province

The Higher Path hopes to open doors in next couple of weeks

Man spotted with shotgun in East Trail leads to weapons discovery

RCMP recover numerous weapons and stolen items after search on Fifth Ave.

Giant rotating ice disk forms in Maine river

Ice disk that is roughly 100 yards wide has formed in the Presumpscot River

SUV wedged on top of car in B.C. mall parking lot has customers confused

The accident occurred Tuesday, no injuries were reported

Huawei founder thanks inmates, Canadian justice system for treating daughter well

Ren Zhengfei said he believes there will be a just conclusion to the case of his daughter, Meng Wanzhou

May government faces no-confidence vote after Brexit defeat

British Prime Minister Theresa May said she would stay put in her leadership role

SPCA seeks help for Shelby the dog

Cranbrook branch seeks help with costs for a Shih Tzu suffering from a number of medical issues.

Razor burn: Gillette ad stirs online uproar

A Gillette ad for men invoking the #MeToo movement is sparking intense online backlash

Feds poised to bolster RCMP accountability with external committee

Long-anticipated move is the latest attempt at rebuilding the force following years of sagging morale

Canada needs a digital ID system, bankers association says

The Department of Finance last week officially launched its public consultation on the merits of open banking

Indigenous energy summit includes session on pipeline ownership options

Steven Saddleback of the Indian Resource Council says a session will feature presentations on financing models

Most Read