B.C. Lions CFL team rolls out orange carpet for residential school survivors


Fans of the B.C. Lions lined up on the weekend to take pictures with Phyllis Webstad because it’s her story that started the orange shirt movement.

“When I turned six in July of 1973, Granny had did what she had done for generations got me ready to go to school and we went to town to Williams Lake,” she told APTN News. “And I chose a shiny orange shirt for my first day at school it was 1973 the hippy era everything was really loud and it was like a nemo orange and that’s what I chose for my first day.

“When I got to the mission my shirt was taken and I never did wear it again.”

And like many of the children who were forced to go to residential schools, her experience was not a good one.

“It didn’t matter how sad we were, how hungry, how lonely there wasn’t anybody there to advocate on our behalf or tell us that it would be better,” she said.

Her story has swept the nation and has become the symbol of honouring residential school survivors and their families with the slogan “every child matters.”

George Chayka, vice-president of business affairs for the Lions, said the team are proud to honour the survivors at the game.

“We’re happy to be able to part of the platform and help Phyllis’s story make the rest of British Columbia aware as well as the rest of all of Canada about her story because it is an important one and it’s one we all need to take note of,” he said.

APTN News will have special coverage on Sept. 30, the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation.

Video Journalist / Vancouver

A proud Métis from BC, Tina began her television career in 1997 as a talent agent for film and TV. She joined APTN National News in 2007 as a Video Journalist in the Vancouver bureau. In 2010, she was the recipient of the Amnesty International Human Rights Journalism Award for her story on murdered and missing women and girls.

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