September 30th will now be officially recognized as Orange Shirt Day in B.C.
The Province announced Saturday, that Government has proclaimed Sunday, September 30, 2018, as Orange Shirt Day, to honor and remember residential school survivors and their families.
“I am humbled and honored that the Province of British Columbia has proclaimed September 30th as Orange Shirt Day,” President of the Orange Shirt Society, Phyllis Webstad said in a news release.
“This campaign has grown far beyond the wildest dream of the six-year-old girl I was when I lost my orange shirt. This recognition is another step on our road to reconciliation, and the incredible response the campaign has generated across the country confirms my belief that that Canadians and First Nations are willing and ready to take this journey together.”
The first Orange Shirt Day was organized by Webstad five years ago in Williams Lake.
Over the course of more than a century, approximately 150,000 Indigenous children were separated from their families and their communities and forced to attend one of 139 official residential schools across Canada.
“On Orange Shirt Day, British Columbians recognize a shameful period in our shared history,” Premier John Horgan said.
“We honor the resilience and bravery of residential school survivors, their families, and communities. We acknowledge the trauma and abuse inflicted on generations of Indigenous peoples. Today, and every day, we commit to working together with Indigenous peoples to heal and build a better future.”
Minister of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation, Scott Fraser and Minister of Education, Rob Fleming will join MLAs and members of the Victoria Orange Shirt Day committee at the city’s event to mark Orange Shirt Day and speak to the proclamation Sunday.
“Until we face our dark colonial past and create a climate where people can have those conversations, where we acknowledge the history, acknowledge the pain and find ways to support moving forward together, true reconciliation is beyond our grasp,” Fraser said.
“Orange Shirt Day is a time for healing and to act on the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Calls to Action to redress the legacy of residential schools.”