People across Lloydminster and the rest of the country will mark Orange Shirt Day Wednesday.
The day, which is marked every September 30th, is used to acknowledge the treatment and hear the stories of Indigenous children and families impacted by Canada’s residential schools.
It also honours the healing process of survivors and their families, and the ongoing commitment to reconciliation. The day takes its name from an orange shirt, gifted by her grandmother, taken from six-year-old Phyllis (Jack) Webstad when she arrived at a Residential School.
Lloydminster Native Friendship Centre Director Bonnie Start says she hopes by doing Orange Shirt Day here in the community, people have an ongoing understanding of what happened to these children and it’s ongoing effects on Indigenous communities.
“Every child matters, the same as every adult, but when you take something away from a child, it impacts them for the rest of their life. So I think that’s the takeaway that I would like to see, we have to stop and think about what our actions are doing to other people.”
Schools across the Border City will be among those marking the day. Jack Kemp Elementary School and Lloydminster Comprehensive High School received a donation of orange shirts from the Friendship Centre.
In addition to that, a teaching series has seen students learn from Lloydminster Public School Division Indigenous Education Coordinator Clint Chocan about the history of the residential school system, and the people who went through it.
Jack Kemp Principal Elana Brand says this is important, as it helps students understand parts of history that have not been as spoken about before in Canada.
“We are a new generation, there’s a whole piece of history that certainly, as an adult, I did not learn about. I did not learn about residential schools growing up in rural Saskatchewan. This is an opportunity for us to really be working towards reconciliation.”
Schools in LPSD also learn about beadwork and bannock making, among others leading up to Orange Shirt Day. The partnership has between the Friendship Centre and Lloydminster has existed for several years, with the Friendship Centre donating shirts annually.