#Phyllis(Jack)Webstad; #residentialschoolsurvivor; #OrangeShirtDay; #TheOrangeShirtStory; #BritishColumbia, #Canada, #EveryChildMatters
Ottawa, Sep 5 (Canadian-Media): Phyllis (Jack) Webstad, a residential school survivor yesterday officially launched her book, “The Orange Shirt Story” in Kamloops, British Columbia (B.C.), media reports said.
Phyllis (Jack) Webstad. Image credit: scienceworld.ca
The orange shirt referred to in this book is the one Webstad wore on her first day at the St. Joseph's Mission residential school in Williams Lake, B.C., in the 1970s.
"When I got to the mission, they stripped me and took away my clothes, including the orange shirt," Webstad wrote about the experience.
"I never wore it again. I didn't understand why they wouldn't give it back to me, it was mine!"
Webstad hoped that by reading this book, people will gain a deeper understanding about the event.
Since 2013, 30th September has been recognized annually across Canada as a day to honour residential school survivors and their families.
The day has also being considered by the federal government for a new statutory holiday to mark the legacy of residential schools.
While she sees a lot of schools participating in Orange Shirt Day activities in Canada and internationally, Webstad noticed a lot of people don't understand the significance of the day and hoped "that with the book there will be more understanding of what the orange shirt means," she said.
Since then, she said the colour orange has reminded her of that experience and her year at residential school, "how my feelings didn't 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."
At the core of The Orange Shirt Story is the message that every child matters.
"I really felt like I was worthless and I didn't matter when I was there. It's taken me a lot of years to know that I do," she said.
Webstad's book focuses specifically on her year at residential school and is specifically geared toward a younger audience in terms of the content, said Webstad.
She said she hopes the story will be a valuable addition for schools in teaching children about the history of residential schools.
"Not a lot of people care to educate themselves and so I want to start with the children," she said.
"They're going to be our future doctors and lawyers and bankers and those types of people."
As for this year's Orange Shirt Day, Webstad encourages people to attend an event in their community and participate in some way.
(Reporting by Asha Bajaj)