(File photo/Black Press Media)

Local Orange Shirt Day celebrations

Sept. 30 is Orange Shirt Day, a day created to raise awareness of inter-generational impacts of residential school and promote the concept that “Every Child Matters.”

Schools commemorate the day by encouraging staff and students to wear an orange shirt, in the spirit of healing and reconciliation. The colour orange is worn because of the story of a six-year-old girl, Phyllis (Jack) Webstad, who had her orange shirt, a gift from her grandmother, taken from her on her first day at a residential school. (orangeshirtday.org)

During the residential school era it is estimated that 150,000 children attended these schools and over 6,000 died while attending, according to an article in the Sept. 24 Ermineskin Newsletter.

“Approximately 80,000 survivors of these schools are alive today,” stated the newsletter.

A walk was held in the morning on Sept. 30, starting at the Maskwacis Mall and finishing at the TRC Monument at the Ermineskin Schools. There were guest speakers, singers and refreshments.

Wolf Creek Public Schools and Wetaskiwin Regional Public Schools participate in Orange Shirt Day each year, as well as schools and communities across Canada. It is held in the fall to coincide with the time of year that children were taken from their homes to residential schools.

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