Students wear orange in support of victims of residential schools

September 30, 2016 by

Phyllis Webstad as a young student

Many students in the Upper Canada District School Board will be wearing Orange today in support of victims of the residential school system, in observance of Orange Shirt Day.

Staff and students at schools across the board are being encouraged to wear orange in recognition of the harm caused to First Nations people by the residential school system.

The campaign was started in Williams Lake, British Columbia in the spring of 2013 in honour of Phyllis Webstad, a student who in 1973, had her orange shirt, a gift from her grandmother, taken away when she entered the St. Joseph Mission Residential School. She never saw the shirt again.

The orange shirt has become a symbol of the loss felt by the native community as a result of the residential school system, and has sparked the annual observance.