The Laichwiltach Family Life Society is holding its fifth annual Orange Shirt Day walk at Spirit Square on Sept. 30.
September 30 is the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation. It is a new federal statutory holiday, announced last September, that fulfills one of the calls to action set out by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. The date was chosen to coincide with Orange Shirt Day, which according to a release from Laichwiltach is “mean to recognize the tragic history of loss, and the lasting effects of Canada’s residential school system.”
“It honours Indigenous residential school survivors, their families, and communities as a vital part of the process of reconciliation,” says the release from LFLS.
The event starts at 11 a.m., with an opening prayer and a walk. At 11:30, Chief Wedlidi Speck from the Namgis First Nation will deliver a keynote speech, which will be followed by a welcome song. from 12:30 to 1 p.m., participants will honour residential school survivors.
“Orange Shirt Day is a legacy of the St. Joseph Mission (SJM) residential school commemoration event held in Williams Lake… in the spring of 2013. It grew out of Phyllis’ story of having her shiny new orange shirt taken away on her first day of school at the Mission, and it has become an opportunity to keep the discussion on all aspects of residential schools happening annually,” says the LFLS release.
“The date was chosen because it is the time of year in which children were taken from their homes to residential schools, and because it is an opportunity to set the stage for anti-racism and anti-bullying policies for the coming school year,” it said. “It also gives teachers time to plan events that will include children, as we want to ensure that we are passing the story and learning on to the next generations.”
The event will have COVID-19 rules in effect: safe distancing, mask wearing and hand sanitizing.