The Sooke Truth for Reconciliation Group will host the third annual Orange Shirt Day, which recognizes the legacy of residential schools.
Anyone wishing to attend the Orange Shirt Day gathering is welcome. The event is on Saturday (Sept. 26) at St. Rose of Lima Church, 2191 Townsend Rd., beginning at 2 p.m.
Orange Shirt Day was inspired by the story of Phyllis Webstad, who wore a new orange shirt which was taken away from her on her first day at a residential school in Williams Lake, B.C., in 1973. It started as a commemoration event in 2013, and the program has since expanded across Canada to raise awareness about bullying and racism.
Officially, Orange Shirt Day takes place on Sept. 30. This year it will be commemorated in Sooke on Sept. 26. The initiative calls for every Canadian to wear an orange shirt in the spirit of healing and reconciliation.
This year Sooke Truth for Reconciliation Group’s founder Linda Bristol’s daughter Monique has arranged for distinguished guests to join the Sooke circle:
Alex Nelson of the Musgamaqw Dzawada’enuwx First Nation is best known for hosting the 1997 Indigenous Games in Victoria. He was co-founder and executive director of the Aboriginal Sports and Recreation Association of B.C. for 20 years. Nelson is a survivor of St. Michael’s residential school in Alert Bay.
Nella Nelson was with the Victoria School District for nearly 40 years, including 29 years as the administrator for Aboriginal education until her retirement in 2018. She is a published author and recipient of numerous awards.