'As a young girl I was hurt, I was lonesome': Residential school survivors discuss change at Regina’s 'Orange Shirt Day' event
Monday marks "Orange Shirt Day" in Canada, a day of remembrance for the thousands of Indigenous children who attended residential school.
The City of Regina held its event at the downtown Regina Public Library.
“It was very traumatizing because we were being separated from home and where our families were,” Chief Margret Bear from the Ochapowace First Nation said. “It was like pulling us apart, I remember feeling as a young girl, I was hurt, I was lonesome and I was crying and I didn't know where i was being sent to and there was a lot of fear of unknown because of where I was going.”
Chief Bear attended residential school in the late 1960's. She spent one year at the Gordon’s Residential Cchool in Punnichy and one year in Keeseekoose's St. Phillips School in Kamsack. She remembers children as young as four years old being taken away from their family and put onto busses to attend school.
Over at the Regina Public School's division office, a permanent display of artifacts and pictures from the Regina Indian Industrial School was unveiled to staff and members of the public. The school was built in 1891 and operated until 1910.
“It’s part of Regina's history its part of our history and it needs to be shared,” Elder in residence for Regina Public Schoools Sharon Agecoutay said.
At only six years old, Phyllis Webstad from Dog Creek First Nation in B.C. attended residential school in 1973. Her grandmother bought her a brand new orange shirt for her first day of school. When she got to school her clothing was stripped away from her.
Chief Bear says it's important for the entire country to take part in orange shirt day so history does not repeat itself.