On Wednesday, Lake Trail Community Middle School recognized Orange Shirt Day with an awe-inspiring interactive activity that students and staff had been preparing for much of September.

The school community created a multi-media art and story walk installation in the forest around the school. The pages of The Orange Shirt Story were displayed on a path through the forest behind our school, Roy Stewart Morrison Nature Park, along with signs that reminded us that every child matters. Collaborative artworks made by our students were also installed to express and represent the kids’ feelings around the story and the history of residential schools in Canada.

At the end of the walk, students gathered to meet with an Elder from the community who spoke to them about these events from our past and answered questions. Our students were able to participate on Wednesday and other school in the Valley, and the community at large, got to participate on Thursday.

The Lake Trail community was involved in this special project and were very lucky to collaborate with Lake Trail Community Education Society, as well as story walk though Comox Valley Lifelong Learning Program and the Vancouver Island Regional Library.

Orange Shirt Day is a day when we acknowledge and honour thousands of Indigenous children who were taken away to residential schools across Canada. Orange Shirt Day began in Williams Lake in 2013 by survivor and author Phyllis Webstad. Webstad’s children’s book entitled The Orange Shirt Story conveys the message that every child matters, and raises awareness about racism, bullying and the injustices of residential schools. Orange Shirt Day events have spread to communities and schools all over B.C. and Canada.

– Gerald Fussell, School Principal

More images available online in the Lake Trail weekly blog here.

This story has been reproduced with permission from School District 71 (Comox Valley). The original posting can be found here.