Truth and Reconciliation & Orange Shirt day

Salmon Arm West is dedicated to providing equal opportunities for all of our students, as part of our commitment to Truth and Reconciliation. We welcome all of our families to take part in our journey by listening, learning and sharing what we know with others in the community.

What is Orange shirt day?

The “orange shirt” in Orange Shirt Day refers to the new shirt that Phyllis Webstad was given to her by her grandmother for her first day of school at St. Joseph’s Mission residential school in British Columbia. When Phyllis got to school, they took away her clothes, including her new shirt. It was never returned.

To Phyllis, the colour orange has always reminded her of her experiences at residential school and, as she has said, “how my feelings didn’t matter, how no one cared and I felt like I was worth nothing. All of us little children were crying and no one cared.” You may watch more about Phyllis’ story at

Wear orange

Beaded orange shirt necklace

The National Day for Truth and Reconciliation takes place on September 30. Salmon Arm West will be hosting our Orange Shirt Day assembly Thursday, September 29th at 10am. Families are welcome to join. We are honoured to have District staff join us for our assembly, as well as knowledge keepers from the community who will share hopeful messages for our students and community.

“Orange Shirt Day is an Indigenous-led grassroots commemorative day intended to raise awareness of the individual, family and community inter-generational impacts of residential schools, and to promote the concept of “Every Child Matters”.  The orange shirt is a symbol of the stripping away of culture, freedom and self-esteem experienced by Indigenous children over generations.”

All students will be provided with a Salmon Arm West Orange Shirt to wear as part of our assembly. We would encourage students to wear the shirt on Friday as well as families, to honour the thousands of Survivors of residential schools. You may visit the following resource for more information and talking points to use with your family:

Shannon Sharpe Learning Circle

Our staff takes pride in taking the learning outdoors and honouring the land. We are very fortunate to have the ‘Shannon Sharpe Learning Circle’, an outdoor space where students, staff and community members gather regularly to share knowledge, stories and meals. The Shannon Sharpe Sharing Circle symbolizes connections to the former teacher’s Métis and Secwe̓pemc heritage, and the design of the structure reflects Indigenous traditions. Recently, Salmon Arm West School’s community planted trees to honour the lives of the children whose bodies were discovered in the grounds of the Kamloops Residential School.