Cecilia Reekie speaks to students at Langley Fundamental Middle and Secondary Schools about Orange Shirt Day. (Langley Fundamental)

VIDEO: Langley School District shares what students learn on Orange Shirt Day

Orange Shirt Day is an effort to raise awareness about the residential school system

Schools throughout the Langley district participated in Orange Shirt Day Monday, giving students a chance to learn about the dark history of residential schools.

The district took to social media to share what some of their students learned about residential schools on Orange Shirt Day (Sept.30).

READ MORE: Orange Shirt Day is just the beginning, says former Langley school trustee

In a video posted to Facebook, Grade 1 and 2 students at Richard Bulpitt Elementary talked about what they understand about residential schools.

“Orange Shirt Day is a sign of respect, and we’re trying to say sorry by wearing orange shirts” one student is heard saying on the video.

Started in 2013, Orange Shirt Day was inspired by a story shared by residential school survivor Phyllis Webstad.

In 1973, Webstad was living with her grandmother on the Dog Creek Reserve in the Cariboo area when she was forced to attend St. Joseph Mission residential school. On her first day of school she was stripped of her orange shirt, gifted to her by her grandmother.

Sean Oliver, principal at Richard Bulpitt, said he saw a lot of orange shirts Monday at his school, and he was happy with how students shared thoughtful reflections.

“We see in our kids this amazing empathy and ability to put themselves in the shoes of these kids who were taken from their families and had their culture stripped away,” said Oliver. “Our kids are able to talk about that and articulate it.”

Oliver said that starting this process with young students means they learn about this history with an open mind and can educate both the older generations and the generations to come.

“They can talk about their feelings in that unfiltered sort of way and empathize so readily and without a lot of cultural bias,” said Oliver.

Since the Langley School District started participating in Orange Shirt Day, Oliver has noticed the impact it has had beyond the school community.

“I am seeing it spread out of schools and into our wider communities… Parents are reading about it on their own outside of school, and they’re joining in that movement of recognizing that history and trying to come to grips with the fact that it exists,” he said.

Throughout the year the school invites cultural presenters to speak with students.

Unlike when Oliver was a student where they didn’t learn about residential schools, he said that history is now “infused into the B.C. curriculum.”

“The core of it is so compelling and so powerful to kids of any age… that feeling of loss… I mean they cry because they get dropped off at school… they’re upset at losing mom for five hours… every one of them can hold on to that feeling of missing family,” said Oliver.


@JotiGrewal_
joti.grewal@blackpress.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Zoo awarded for its restoration of the Salmon River

The zoo was recognized in collaboration on the project with LEPS and Person Ecological

Witnesses sought in person at Langley collision scene Friday

Police will be out trying to find drivers who witnesses something the day of the impact

Birthday bash for an Aldergrove resident celebrating 100 years

Five generations of Pawluks surprised their centenarian with a party of her own

Worldwide ShakeOut day prepares people for earthquake safety

Langley City Mayor Val van den Broek ducked under her desk at 10:17 a.m. to partake in annual drill

Langley theft suspects caught on camera

Have you seen any of the people in these photos?

Scheer, Trudeau, Singh haggle over potential minority government outcome

If you believe the polls, it appears the Liberals and Conservatives are neck-and-neck

‘The more you test, the more you find’: Beef recalls a sign of success, experts say

Despite appearances, experts say a recent rise in major recalls is not a sign of food supply problems

Workers at four Vancouver hotels ratify contract with higher wages, job security

Unite Here Local 40 president Zailda Chan says it’s the first hotel strike in Vancouver in nearly two decades

Japanese buyer expands wood pellet contract with B.C.’s Pinnacle

Mitsui and Co. increases contract with Interior energy producer

ELECTION 2019: Have Justin Trudeau’s Liberals really cut middle-class taxes?

Conservative Andrew Scheer vows to cut bottom bracket, NDP’s Jagmeet Singh targets wealth tax

B.C. RCMP officer suing the force for malicious prosecution

Cpl. Tammy Hollingsworth cleared of wrongdoing after misconduct hearing

UPDATE: Vehicle located and driver arrested in relation to fatal hit-and-run

Male pedestrian in his 50s died after being struck by vehicle on Highway 11 in Abbotsford

Talk to your kids about vaping, B.C.’s top doctor says

B.C. health officials have discovered the first vaping-related illness in the province

Alberta truck convoy plans counter-protest at climate rally with Greta Thunberg

United We Roll organizer says similar protest planned for Swedish teen’s event in Edmonton

Most Read