Orange Shirt Day

September 30th has been declared Orange Shirt Day and reminds us of the impact of residential schools, the need for reconciliation and how we can together have a bright future where EVERY CHILD MATTERS.  The origin of the day began with Phyllis Webstad who at age six went to a residential school in 1973. Her grandmother had bought her a brand new orange shirt to wear to school, where Phyllis had it taken away upon arrival.  West KIldonan Collegiate staff and students wore orange shirts on September 29th in recognition of the harm the residential school system did to children’s sense of self-esteem and wellbeing. The staff and students had the opportunity to be involved in many activities to recognize the day. We started our school day with a beautiful English/Ojibwa version of O’Canada, to being welcomed in the circle garden to partake or observe a smudge ceremony facilitated by Mrs. Erickson, and elder in residence, Mary Courchene. At lunch students had the opportunity to have a lunch of hot dogs and bannock cooked over an open fire in the circle garden. In class, students reflected on the questions “What does a reconciled Canada of the future look like?” and “Why should we learn about the impact of residential schools?” writing their responses on orange shirt cut outs, which then became a part of an art exhibit displayed in the commons, alongside an earlier piece created by Mr. Brasca and students of the division at Arts in the Park.

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