Sept 30th, 2020 is Orange Shirt Day which honours Residential School survivors and their families and remembers those who suffered and died in these institutions. For more than 100 years, Indigenous children were taken from their families, subjected to mental, physical and sexual abuse and made to feel ashamed of their language and culture. The Truth and Reconciliation Commission has rightly called Canada’s Indian residential school policy an act of cultural genocide.
Orange Shirt Day was created by Phyllis Webstad in 2013 when Phyllis shared her story of having her shiny orange shirt being taken from her when she arrived at St. Joseph Mission Residential School in Williams Lake, BC. The date was chosen as it is the time of year when children were taken from their homes and sent to residential schools.
SCARP encourages all its students, staff and faculty to participate in virtual Orange Shirt Day events taking place across UBC, British Columbia and Canada as an act of reconciliation. We also reflect on last year’s Walk and Learn Together event hosted by UBC’s Faculty of Applied Science and honour the memory of the late Dr. Rosalyn Ing who passed away in July. Dr. Ing spoke to attendees about her experience in the residential school system and she is dearly missed.