Camosun marks Orange Shirt Day

Friday event will show support for those who attended residential schools

Camosun College is showing its colours on Friday.

Camosun staff, students and community supporters will be wearing orange shirts on Sept. 30 to show their commitment to the principle that every child matters and to show support for those who attended residential schools and their families.

The design for the shirts that will be worn by Camosun students and staff was contributed by Tsawout artist Bear Horne. The design symbolizes vision for a bright future, health of the mind, body and spirit, and the necessity to feed the connection of these elements.

“We ask students and supporters to help us honour the 150,000 survivors of the residential school system so their voices can be heard through our participation,” according to a release from student spokespersons Eddy Charlie and Kristin Spray. “As Indigenous students, we wish to create awareness about the issues of residential schools. We feel a responsibility to stand together so that the spirits of our ancestors can witness our spiritual blanket embracing every path as we rebuild everything that was taken from our ancestors.”

The community is invited to attend the event Friday at 1:15 p.m. at Na’tsa’maht (the Gathering Place) on the Lansdowne campus. The public is invited to wear an orange shirt, eat fry bread and sing the huy ch qu song to show respect and to honour those who attended residential schools and their families.

Orange Shirt Day was first introduced in Williams Lake and in just four years has spread across Canada, the U.S. and Europe. Sept. 30 represents the time of year children were taken from their homes, and it sets the stage for anti-racism and anti-bullying policies for the coming school year. It is the opportunity for communities to come together in the spirit of reconciliation and hope for generations of children to come.