Celebrate Orange Shirt Day and Support Cultural Safety and Humility in BC
September 30th has been declared Orange Shirt Day, in recognition of the harm the residential school system has left on generations of indigenous families and their communities.
Learning about the impacts of residential schools in Canada helps build cultural humility and is a step towards making our health system more culturally safe for First Nations and Aboriginal Peoples in BC.
Orange Shirt Day is an opportunity for Canadians to come together to set the state for anti-racism and anti-bullying policies.
The College is wearing orange today in the spirit of reconciliation and hope for generations to come.
Started by Phyllis Webstad, the first Orange Shirt Day took place on September 30, 2013 in Williams Lake to acknowledge the harm that Canada’s residential school system has left on generations of indigenous families and their communities.
The date was chosen because it is the time of year during which taken from their homes and put into residential schools.
PHYLLIS (JACK) WEBSTAD’S STORY IN HER OWN WORDS
I went to the Mission for one school year in 1973/1974. I had just turned 6 years old. I lived with my grandmother on the Dog Creek reserve. We never had very much money, but somehow my granny managed to buy me a new outfit to go to the Mission school. I remember going to Robinson’s store and picking out a shiny orange shirt. It had a string laced up in front, and was so bright and exciting – just like I felt to be going to school!
When I got to the Mission, they stripped me, and took away my clothes, including the orange shirt! I never wore it again. I didn’t understand why they wouldn’t give it back to me, it was mine! The color orange has always reminded me of that and how my feelings didn’t matter, how no one cared and how I felt like I was worth nothing. All of us little children were crying and no one cared.
Phyllis is Northern Secwpemc (Shuswap) from the Stswecem’c Xgat’tem First Nation (Canoe Creek Indian Band). She comes from mixed Secwepemc and Irish/French heritage, was born in Dog Creek, and lives in Williams Lake, BC.
Watch Phyllis’ Story:
Wear an orange shirt on Sunday September 30, and help create awareness of the individual, family and inter-generational impacts of Indian Residential Schools in Canada.
St Joseph’s Residential School Stories
There are a great deal of stories that the Residential School has left in its wake, and most are not pleasant. The problem we have today is not many people know about what it was like. Jonathan Horst heard some of the stories from Williams Lake's local school and discovered that it's not something that should be forgotten.
St. Joseph’s Residential School Commemoration Project
Very recently the Truth and Reconciliation Commission came to Williams Lake. Their arrival gave those affected by the Residential schools a place to share their experience and begin to heal. But this Commemoration project was unique, and Jonathan Horst of Williams Lake found out why.
Punpuntwal (Finding Each Other) Signal Hill Documentary 2018
In 2016, a blanket ceremony was held at Signal Hill Elementary. Lisa Richardson had the privilege of interviewing the school’s Vice Principal at the time, Clare Hanbury, and Aboriginal Cultural Support Worker Tanina Williams, after the event, and wrote about it here.
Hanbury and Williams then began working on this documentary about the ceremony and the work the school is doing towards the healing journey that all Canadians need to undertake.
Commitment to Cultural Safety and Humility
Orange Shirt Day reinforces the College’s commitment to improving BC pharmacy professionals’ work with First Nations and Aboriginal Peoples through the “Declaration of Cultural Safety and Humility in Health Services Delivery for First Nations and Aboriginal Peoples in BC” signed by College Registrar, Bob Nakagawa, on March 1, 2017.
WHAT IS CULTURAL SAFETY AND HUMILITY?
Cultural Safety is an outcome based on respectful engagement that recognizes and strives to address power imbalances inherent in the healthcare system. It results in an environment free of racism and discrimination, where people feel safe when receiving healthcare.
Cultural Humility is a process of self-reflection to understand personal and systematic conditioned biases, and to develop and maintain respectful processes and relationships based on mutual trust. Cultural Humility involves humbly acknowledging oneself as a life-long learner when it comes to understanding another’s experience.
The College recognizes that making impactful change requires working together with the First Nations Health Authority, other health regulators, pharmacy associations, First Nations groups, and others to act on its plan and create a healthcare environment free of racism and discrimination, where individuals feel safe and respected.
It is also a journey of learning about the culture and experiences of First Nations and Aboriginal Peoples of BC. Relationship building and engagement with First Nations and Aboriginal Peoples communities and organizations are essential in enabling the College to meet its goals in improving care.
Learn more about our commitment at:
Cultural Safety and Humility ReadLinks Series
Learn about the culture and experiences of First Nations and Aboriginal Peoples in BC, the importance of acknowledging racism in healthcare, and the role of cultural humility and safety in providing care in this Cultural Safety and Humility ReadLinks Series.