The Story Behind Orange Shirt Day ~ "The Original Orange Shirt" Phyllis (Jack) Webstad
“I went to the Mission for one year. I had just turned 6 years old. We never had very much money, and there was no welfare, but somehow my granny managed to buy me a new outfit to go to the Mission School in. I remember going to Robinson’s store and picking out a shiny orange shirt. It had eyelets and lace, and I felt so pretty in that shirt and excited to be going to school!
Of course, when I got to the Mission, they stripped me, and took away my clothes, including the orange shirt. I never saw it again, except on other kids. I didn’t understand why they wouldn’t give it back to me, it was mine!
Since then the colour 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.
I finally get it, that the feeling of worthlessness and insignificance, ingrained in me from my first day at the mission, affected the way I lived my life for many years...I want my orange shirt back!”
Phyllis (Jack) Webstad, Dog Creek, BC