Today, Friday, Sept. 29, is Orange Shirt Day and more than 600 students from elementary, middle and secondary schools came to Mission’s Fraser River Heritage Park to help honour the survivors of residential school.
Students held banners stating “every child matters” in Halq’emeylem, English, French, Punjabi and Spanish.
Elders were seated by the covered area in the park and the students (most wearing orange shirts) marched towards them to hear Elders Cyril Pierre and Joe Ginger talk of their experiences at St. Mary’s Indian Residential School in Mission.
Orange Shirt Day is a day to remember what happened to First Nations students at residential schools across Canada. It was launched in 2013 in Williams Lake.
The day was inspired by Phyllis Jack Webstad, a Stswecem’c Xgat’tem First Nation elder in Williams Lake who, on her first day at residential school in 1973, was not permitted to wear the orange shirt she had brought to school.