Orange Shirt Day

Orange Shirt Day - 27 September
2017 FSS Orange Shirt DayOrange Shirt Day is the story of Phyllis (Jack) Webstad and her experience as a young Indigenous girl at a residential school in Mission, B.C.

In her own words...

"I went to the Mission for one school year in 1973/1974.  I had just turned six.  I lived with my grandmother on the Dog Creek reserve.  We never had very much money, and there was no welfare, but somehow my granny managed to buy me a new outfit to go to the Mission school.  I remember going to Robinson’s store and picking out a shiny orange shirt.  It had string laced up in front, and was so bright and exciting – just like I felt to be going to school.

When I got to the Mission, they stripped me, and took away my clothes, including the orange shirt.  I never saw it again.  I did not understand why.  Why wouldn’t they give it back to me, it was mine! The colour orange has always reminded me of that and how my feelings did not matter, how no one cared and how I felt like I was worth nothing.  All of us little children were crying and no one cared.

I was 13.8 years old and in Grade 8 when my son Jeremy was born. Because my grandmother and mother both attended residential school for 10 years each, I never knew what a parent was supposed to be like.  With the help of my aunt, Agness Jack, I was able to raise my son and have him know me as his mother.

I went to a treatment centre for healing when I was 27 and have been on this healing journey since then.  I finally get it, that the feeling of worthlessness and insignificance, ingrained in me from my first day a
t 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.  Even with all the work I’ve done!

I am honoured to be able to tell my story so that others may benefit and understand, and maybe other survivors will feel comfortable enough to share their stories."

On 27 September 2018, FSS will partake in the LDSB Orange Shirt Day.   FSS will honour Phyllis and other survivors, wear orange shirts to remember lives lost and cultures stolen, and walk together to build a stronger relationship.