Peatkau recieved gifts from Stz’uminus Community school students. She will join them on their trip to Hobiyee in February (Cole Schisler photo)

Orange Shirt Day inspires Victoria student to action

Grade 5 student, Haley Paetkau raises $2,556 for Stz’uminus Community School

Haley Paetkau took the lesson of Orange Shirt Day to heart.

Paetkau, a Grade 5 student from Victoria, raised $2,556 by selling bracelets at her school for Orange Shirt Day, and donated it to Stz’uminus Community School near Ladysmith. Although Paetkau goes to school in Victoria, she wanted the money to go directly to an Indigenous school.

Orange Shirt Day is held every Sept. 30, to acknowledge residential school survivors, and bring communities together in a spirit of reconciliation and hope.

When Paetkau was in Grade 3, she noticed her school did not recognize Orange Shirt Day. She spoke with her teachers and principal about it, and they made the change.

“I felt it was important because this is Indigenous peoples land, and we should acknowledge that, and acknowledge residential school survivors” Paetkau said.

Paetkau’s father, Steve Sxwithul’txw is a residential school survivor. He attended Kuper Island residential school. Sxwithul’txw is now an accomplished film maker, with a documentary film Leave it on the Water, and his series Tribal Police Files, which is entering its third season of production.

RELATED: Penelakut filmmaker Steve Sxwithul’txw finds success in film and TV

“When she first started talking about it I was a little blown away because we never really talked about it,” Sxwithul’txw said. “It was her own ingenuity that she brought it to the attention of the teachers and the students.”

The money Paetkau raised will go towards funding a student trip to Hobiyee, a three-day event honouring Indigenous youth. The event is hosted by the Nisga’a nation at Gitlaxt’aamiks or New Aiyansh village, midway between Terrace and the Alaska panhandle.

“Last year we went on a trip to Vancouver for singing and dancing too. Ninety percent of our students have never been off Vancouver Island — never been on a BC ferry. They’re in awe,” Stz’uminus language and culture teacher, Clinton Charlie said. “For them to travel, see the world, and say ‘hey, there’s more stuff outside the community’, and let them explore that, that’s what we want.”

Stz’uminus Community School invited Paetkau and Sxwithul’txw to a recent assembly to be recognized for their donation. They were welcomed in ceremony, and given gifts from Stz’uminus students. Paetkau was invited to join Stz’uminus at Hoibyee in February.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Burger sales bring in $5,000 to build Imagination Libraries in Greater Victoria

United Way of Greater Victoria and Big Wheel Burger team up to get kids reading

Donated sculpture in Sidney’s Beacon Park a testament to perseverance

Victoria artist Armando Barbon picked up sculpting 22 years ago

Greater Victoria businesses come together to help Island kids

Langford Lowe’s raises funds for youth mental health all month

Sidney builds community resilience through neighbourhood gatherings

Meet Your Street needs residents to create gatherings, safe interactions

‘Each step is a prayer’: Ojibwe man will walk from Hope to Saanich for Indigenous healing, reconciliation

James Taylor departs Sept. 20, returns to Saanich in five days for sacred fire

3 new deaths due to COVID-19 in B.C., 139 new cases

B.C. confirms 40 ‘historic cases,’ as well

Ferry riders say lower fares are what’s most needed to improve service

Provincial government announces findings of public engagement process

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg dies at 87

The court’s second female justice, died Friday at her home in Washington

Comox Valley protesters send message over old-growth logging

Event in downtown Courtenay was part of wider event on Friday

Application deadline for fish harvester benefits program extended

Those financially impacted by the pandemic have until Oct. 5 to apply

Emaciated grizzly found dead on central B.C. coast as low salmon count sparks concern

Grizzly was found on Gwa’sala-‘Nakwaxda’xw territory in Smith Inlet, 60K north of Port Hardy

VIDEO: B.C. to launch mouth-rinse COVID-19 test for kids

Test involves swishing and gargling saline in mouth and no deep-nasal swab

Young Canadians have curtailed vaping during pandemic, survey finds

The survey funded by Heart & Stroke also found the decrease in vaping frequency is most notable in British Columbia and Ontario

B.C. teachers file Labour Relations Board application over COVID-19 classroom concerns

The application comes as B.C.’s second week of the new school year comes to a close

Most Read