Staff at the Port Alberni Friendship Center—even Bella the office pooch—wear orange in honour of Orange Shirt Day.

Orange Shirt Day honours residential school students

The day is particularly significant to Alberni as it was once the site of a residential school.

When Phyllis Webstad was six years old, her grandmother bought her a new orange-coloured shirt to wear on her first day at St. Joseph’s Residential School in the Cariboo-Chilcotin region.

When she got to the school, her shirt was taken away from her and she later saw another child in town wearing it.

Webstad’s story has come to symbolize Orange Shirt Day, started in B.C. last year to honour Indian Residential School survivors and to remember those who never made it home.

On Tuesday, Sept. 30, members of the Port Alberni Friendship Center wore their shirts for the center’s annual general meeting.

The Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council also held an Orange Shirt Day event.

In the Alberni Valley the significance of Orange Shirt Day is close to First Nations residents because Port Alberni was once the site of a residential school.

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