Every child matters. That was a sentiment staff and students wore on their sleeves as part of the College’s Orange Shirt Day events.
Hosted by NC’s Indigenous Education department, Orange Shirt Day was held at the NOTL Campus on Sept. 29 and at the Welland Campus on Oct. 2.
The annual event was held to recognize the impact of the residential school system on First Nations, Métis, and Inuit children’s sense of self-esteem and well-being, as an affirmation to a commitment to ensure that everyone matters.
Students, staff, and faculty were invited to wear an orange shirt (or other clothing) to honour residential school survivors and to remember those who didn’t. Information booths about the initiative were on display and a group photo was taken at each campus as part of Orange Shirt Day.
“Orange Shirt Day is an opportunity for the NC community to come together to show our support for our residential school survivors, to remember those who did not, and an opportunity to raise awareness of these impacts,” said organizer Jamie Warren, counsellor, Health, Wellness and Accessibility.
“One of the first steps that we can take toward reconciliation is to educate ourselves and our students on various Indigenous issues, including the legacy of the residential school system and how it continues to have an impact on Indigenous peoples in Canada, including our Indigenous students.”
Orange Shirt Day is a legacy of the St. Joseph Mission residential school commemoration event held in Williams Lake in 2013. It was inspired by Phyllis (Jack) Webstad, a survivor of the St. Joseph Mission Residential School. The federal government estimates at least 150,000 First Nation, Metis, and Inuit students attended residential schools. Orange Shirt Day is an opportunity for the College to come together in the spirit of reconciliation and hope for future generations of children.