Imagine that you’re 6 years old and your grandma — even though she doesn’t have much money — buys you a shiny new orange shirt for the first day of school and you are so excited to wear it and make her proud. Then, imagine that you get to school and the teacher strips you and takes it away, never to be seen again.

This is what happened to Phyllis Webstad when she went to residential school in 1973. “The color orange has always reminded me of that and how my feelings didn’t matter, how no one cared and how I felt like I was worth nothing,” she remembers. “All of us little children were crying and no one cared.”

Phyllis’ story was the inspiration for Orange Shirt Day, a day to recognize the harm the residential school system did to children’s sense of self-esteem and wellbeing, and as an affirmation of our commitment to ensure that everyone around us matters.

Orange Shirt Day falls on Sept. 30, which is a Sunday, so CJHS will be commemorating the day on Friday, Sept. 28 at 10:00 a.m. with a community “Sunrise” smudge followed by remarks from a residential school survivor. We are also encouraging staff and community to wear orange and post a video or photo on social media, explaining their choice to wear orange on this day and using the #everychildmatters and #orangeshirtday2018 hashtags.

Sunrise Smudge
Date: Friday, Sept. 28, 2018
Time: 10:00 a.m.
Location: In the alley behind the CJHS Main Office at 917 9th Ave. SE