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

Victoria tattoo shops respond to sex assault allegations against male artists

Carne Tattoo and Painted Lotus Studios respond to allegations

Unemployment surpasses historic high in Greater Victoria, tourism hit hard

Hospitality and tourism sectors hurting as pandemic continues

Sooke Crisis Centre closes doors

Services previously offered to be dispersed throughout community support groups

‘I love my animals very dearly,’ says man at centre of Saanich park allegations

Man accused of assault after being approached for allegedly mistreating his dog

Victoria seeks court order to enforce sheltering rules in Beacon Hill Park

People being asked to move out of environmentally sensitive areas of park

B.C. sees 25 new COVID-19 cases, community exposure tracked

One death, outbreaks remain in two long-term care facilities

VIDEO: Alberta man rescues baby eagle believed to be drowning in East Kootenay lake

Brett Bacon was boating on a lake in Windermere when he spotted the baby eagle struggling in the water

Vancouver Island business ad unintentionally features OK gesture linked to white supremacy

Innocuous ‘OK’ gesture in cleaning franchise advertisement gets flak on social media for ‘supposedly’ promoting white supremacy

Comox Valley RCMP looking for missing woman

Ami Guthrie was last seen in Courtenay in early July

Conservationists raise concerns over state of care for grizzly cubs transferred to B.C. zoo

‘Let them be assessed now before their fate is sealed,’ urges B.C. conservationist Barb Murray

B.C.’s COVID-19 job recovery led by tourism, finance minister says

Okanagan a bright spot for in-province visitor economy

National Kitten Day aka the ‘purrfect’ day to foster a new friend

July 10 marks National Kitten Day, a special day to celebrate all things kittens

Lower Mainland YouTubers claim to be Kelowna display toilet ‘poopers’

RCMP can not speak to legitimacy of video, will be investigating

Haida matriarchs occupy ancient villages as fishing lodges reopen to visitors

‘Daughters of the rivers’ say occupation follows two fishing lodges reopening without Haida consent

Most Read