ISU Brings Orange Shirt Day to Hellgate



Orange shirt day

Millie Reynolds, Reporter

     Indigenous Student Union at Hellgate has put together a fantastic organization for Native students and allies. “We want to do a lot of projects this year, but most importantly, we want to create a community for us at Hellgate,” said ISU Founder Giana Tohee. Their next project is Orange Shirt Day, where they will be spreading awareness about what happened at residential schools. This project is taking place on Sept. 30, chosen because it was the time of year when children were taken from their boarding schools. This project will create a chance for First Nations, local governments, schools, and communities to unite and remember those gone, commemorate the survivors and be there for upcoming generations.

     The First Nations Education Steering Committee chose School District 27 in Cariboo to implement changes for students in Grade 5 and Grade 10 and is now applied province-wide. Many groups in addition to Hellgate use this day to spread awareness and honor those who have experienced the tragedy and passed away at their residential schools. Although the actual cause of death remains unknown, students at these schools experienced violent sexual, emotional, and physical abuse while swarmed with various diseases. The Canadian Government has designated Sept. 30 as National Truth and Reconciliation Day while honoring the 6,500+ unmarked graves found by the residential school areas.

     As many of ISU’s members have been personally affected by this devastation, they have joined in the annual memorial created to remember those who were a part of it and share their knowledge. Hellgate’s Indigenous Student Union will be donating everything from their fundraiser to the Orange Tee Shirt Foundation to help them continue to expand their work internationally. Giana and her fellow ISU members are doing an excellent job creating a community for Native students and allies at Hellgate. 

     Orange Shirt Day will be one of many exciting projects they have planned for the upcoming year. Anyone can learn more information about this cause by going to the Orange Shirt Day website.


Orange Shirt Day
Orange shirt day (spectator)