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The following statement was given today in the House of Assembly by the Honourable Dwight Ball, Premier of Newfoundland and Labrador:
Mr. Speaker, I rise in this Honourable House to talk about the significance of Orange Shirt Day in acknowledging survivors of the residential school system.
The colour orange is connected to Phyllis Webstad who was six years old in 1973 when she attended her first day at a residential school. Her new orange shirt was taken away from her. For Phyllis, orange became a constant reminder of the hurt and loneliness she felt while attending residential school.
Last month, I was pleased to speak via Skype with Patrick Ballard and his classmates at Bayview Academy School in St. George’s. Patrick submitted the winning design for an orange shirt through a contest organized by the Bay St. George Cultural Revival Centre.
Proceeds from the sale of the shirts are being used to purchase a traditional Mik’maq tipi on the grounds of the school. Patrick’s design was exceptional in that it reflected elements of all Indigenous cultures in Newfoundland and Labrador.
I also acknowledged a challenge from Abby Carroll of St. George’s and pledged to her that every member of my caucus will wear orange next year on September 30. I call on all members of this Honourable House, in the spirit of reconciliation and revitalizing our relationship with Indigenous peoples, to join with me in recognizing September 30 as Orange Shirt Day in Newfoundland and Labrador.