While any BC Lions Game sees the color orange in the stands, their game next Friday will see fans of both teams sporting the color in remembrance and honor of indigenous survivors of residential schools.
In an announcement on Thursday, Phyllis Webstad, the founder of Orange Shirt Day, spoke about how it was a dream of hers for “survivors and their families to go to one of these football games and be honored there, and they could know about what happened to us[.]”
"We've been through a lot, and it's good to have something positive and fun…sometimes we need to do that. We can't always be crying." creator of Orange Shirt Day Phyllis Webstad on being honoured during the Sept 24th Orange Shirt Day game. 🧡#ThisIsOurPride #EveryChildMatters pic.twitter.com/IZtXprXE7z
— BC LIONS (@BCLions) September 16, 2021
As well as wearing to the color Orange, the BC Lions will give 350 tickets to residential school survivors and their families to attend the game on Friday, as well as a $20,000 donation to the Orange Shirt Society. There will also be a commemorative shirt for the event, with a logo designed by indigenous artist Corrine Hunt.
Orange Shirt Day was started in 2013 by Webstad as a way to “commemorate the residential school experience, to witness and honour the healing journey of the survivors and their families, and to commit to the ongoing process of reconciliation.” The orange shirt itself comes from a story of Webstad’s, where on her first day at a residential school, an orange shirt given to her by her grandmother was taken from her.
In the last year, significant attention has been brought to the tragedies that occurred in the residential school system, with over 1500 unmarked graves of indigenous children being found at five schools across the country. There were 139 residential schools, the vast majority of which remain unsearched still. The last of these was closed in 1996.
The game is scheduled to take place on Friday, Sept 24, at 7:30PM at BC Place. All people in attendance must have proof of COVID-19 vaccination. For more information on the event, or Orange Shirt Day, you can visit www.bclions.com or www.orangeshirtday.org.