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October 10, 2023
There were nearly 100 people at the Diamond Family Auditorium on Wednesday, Oct. 4 to mark the 10th anniversary of the founding of Orange Shirt Day by author Phyllis Webstad. At this event, Webstad–who received an honorary doctorate from SFU two days later–was the guest speaker. Varying shades of orange filled the space as people listened to Webstad speak.
Chris Lewis, Director, Indigenous Initiatives and Reconciliation and the Wednesday event’s host, said that all attendees were there to bear witness and have a duty to speak about what they see and hear.
It was a powerful, deeply moving ceremony, dedicated to all the Indigenous children who were forcibly taken from their homes to residential schools for nearly a century. Some children were returned home; many are today’s survivors like Webstad, who have been telling their truth for decades. Some children never returned home. While many of them have never been found, the remains of others were discovered in the past few years in mass graves near the sites of residential schools.