London, Ontario September 30th, 2019 – On September 30th a 13 year old Phyllis Webstad who was wearing a brand new orange shirt arrived at school but as it did not fit with harsh rules that were imposed on her it was ripped off of her and she was forced to wear a school uniform. It was the beginning of a hell for her that lasted a year but, the effects stayed with her for a life time.
On September 30th we all wear an orange shirt to show that every child matters and they all deserve to be recognized for what they had to go through. Association of Iroquois and Allied Indians Grand Chief Joel Abram stated “Phyllis’ story is a common one that happened to more than 150,000 Indigenous children. Children taken from their families , separated from their siblings and forbidden to speak their language and become strangers in their own culture”.
Today, the effects of what they had to grow through resonate throughout generations as it was not limited to just their own. Children that survived returned home as strangers to family with no concept of their own identity and who they were. Some did not know how to be parents themselves or how to share stories and cultural beliefs that should not have been taken from them in the first place. We invite the world to share in this effort to remember those children who are no longer with us. A.I.A.I. stands together wearing their orange shirt in a show of support for Phyllis and those like her.