Orange Shirt Day at LFAS

Posted: September 28, 2019


Orange shirt day is a movement that officially began in 2013 but in reality it began in 1973 when six year old Phyllis Webstad entered the St. Joseph Mission Residential School, outside of Williams Lake, BC. Young Phyllis was wearing a brand new orange shirt for her first day of school – new clothes being a rare and wonderful thing for a First Nation girl growing up in her grandmother’s care – but the Mission Oblates quickly stripped her of her new shirt and replaced it with the school’s institutional uniform.

While she only attended for one year the impact affected Ms. Webstad’s life for many years. “I finally get it, that feeling of worthlessness and insignificance, ingrained in me from my first day at the mission, affected the way I lived my life for many years. Even now, when I know nothing could be further than the truth, I still sometimes feel that I don’t matter.”

Ms. Webstad’s story is the nucleus for what has become a national movement to recognize the experience of survivors of Indian residential schools, honour them, and show a collective commitment to ensure that every child matters. The initiative calls for every Canadian to wear an orange shirt on September 30 in the spirit of healing and reconciliation.

LFAS made the day both visible and meaningful doing the following:

  • Three high school classes participated in a walk for reconciliation and debrief during A block– Ms. Reid, Ms McNaughton, Ms. Carnrite
  • English FP 12/FN 12  created and handed out orange ribbons and cedar to high school classes.
  • The senior choir sang  Meet Me Here by Craig Hella Johnson  in the front foyer at lunch led by Mr. Michel.
  • OSD posters were put up around the school with facts about Residential Schools – Ms. Reid, Ms. Carnrite
  • OSD hearts were put up in the hall with reflections from students in elementary around Every Child Matters, the Story of OSD and Residential Schools (thank you Ms. Illes for the idea!)
  • Grade 5s went on a walk for reconciliation to Kwantlen First Nation and met with community; sharing a song,  reflections about their learning and left a cedar tree art gift for the community members – Ms. Lee, Ms. Illes
  • Students in grade 4 created art work inspired by Every Child Matters and OSD
  • Students in grade 7 were led in an in-depth discussion in the library with Mr. Ames about assimilation policies, loss of identity for indigenous people in Canada and the shared history for all Canadians.

Langley Fine Arts School

9096 - Trattle Street, Fort Langley
BC, V1M 2S6
Phone: 604-888-3113
Fax: 604-888-3578