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Rainbow students invited to wear orange Sept. 30 in solidarity with residential school survivors

'This important and significant gesture will bring us together in the spirit of reconciliation'
Staff and students at Lansdowne Public School wear orange during last year’s Orange Shirt Day, including back row, from left; Principal Jennifer Harvey, Robert Hopkin, Madison Heikkila, Anna Gauthier, Madison Delisle-Marcotte, McKena Houston and Aboriginal Support Worker Lauretta Miller; and front row, from left; Zander White, Doyle Shelswell, Alexandra Bowerman, Carter Kanayuk, Alex Mayhew and Sia Huss. The community is invited to join students and staff in Rainbow Schools to wear orange in support of residential school survivors Sept. 30. (Supplied)

Staff and students in schools run by the Rainbow District School Board have been invited to wear orange Sept. 30 to show support for residential school survivors. 

Orange Shirt Day recognizes the effects and intergenerational impacts of the residential school system on First Nation, Métis, and Inuit children in Canada.

“This important and significant gesture will bring us together in the spirit of reconciliation,” said director of education Norm Blaseg, in a press release.

“Staff are also welcome to open up or continue the conversation about residential schools with students.

“Participation in Orange Shirt Day demonstrates our collective commitment to building an ongoing understanding. We invite everyone to wear orange to show students that every child matters.”

Orange Shirt Day began in Williams Lake, British Columbia by the St. Joseph Mission residential school commemoration project. Phyllis Webstad, a young girl from the Dog Creek reserve, attended the Mission in 1973, where her clothes were removed, including her brand new orange shirt. 

Phyllis’ story inspired the Mission to declare Sept. 30 Orange Shirt Day, as this was the time of year in which children were taken from their homes to attend residential schools.