At Mincher Koeman, we are proud to be participating in Orange Shirt Day in recognition of the healing and bravery of the survivors of Canada’s residential school system.
This event was established in May 2013 as part of the St. Joseph Mission Residential School Commemoration Project and Reunion. The idea for Orange Shirt Day came from the recollections of former residential school student Phyllis (Jack) Webstad, who recounted the story of her first day of school.
Prior to starting at the residential school, Phyllis’ grandmother had bought her a brand new orange shirt to wear on her first day. When she arrived at the school, however, her clothes, including the new shirt, were taken from her. Phyllis was just six years old at the time. Since then, she says that the colour orange has always represented her experience on that day, and “how my feelings didn’t matter, how no one cared and I felt like I was worth nothing. All of us little children were crying and no one cared.”
Orange Shirt Day is held each year on September 30th. This is the time of year when children were taken from their homes to attend these schools, and also because it helps to set intentions for students around anti-bullying and anti-racism initiatives at the start of each new school year.
Mincher Koeman is proud to support and take part in this event. Through our own work with local Alberta First Nations communities, we have seen the lasting effects of the residential school system. This system is just one part of Canada’s failings regarding our Indigenous communities, and we are proud to honour those who survived and continue to work to speak out about their experiences.
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