Orange Shirt Day all about healing

Orange Shirt Day all about healing

Event in Gitanmaax will honour and celebrate the resilience of Gitxsan residential school survivors.

Orange Shirt Day is happening this weekend in Gitanmaax.

The event will honour and celebrate the resilience of Gitxsan residential school survivors.

“We’re going to be celebrating their resilience and it’s going to be just more a celebration; it’s going to be a bit of an event to prompt dialogue and to prompt more awareness of the history and then we’re going to get into a comedy act by Don Burnstick. Eric Robinson, a survivor himself but also a former MLA and a former [deputy] premier of the Manitoba government, he’s going to do a keynote address and talk about his experience and some of the things he accomplished while he was in government, which kind of [is] like an advocacy towards reconciliation,” said Gary Patsey, one of the organizers and residential school survivors.

The event will balance serious topics and discussion as well as adding lighter entertainment with music and comedy.

“There’s the serious part, but mainly to demonstrate survivorship and we’re going to be feasting. It’s going to be a buffet feast and it’s going to be more spontaneous and then we’re going to through dialogue, Don Burnstick’s comedy act and we’re going to have a young man from Burns Lake coming in … he’s a musician and he’ll be playing for about an hour-and-a-half and he’s a Native. I’d imagine he’s got relatives that went to residence school; I’d imagine he’ll be talking to that theme,” said Patsey.

The Gitanmaax Orange Shirt Day will take place Saturday starting at 5 p.m. with dinner. The keynote address starts at 6:30 p.m. with Eric Robinson, comedian Don Burnstick is at 7 p.m., then 8-9:30 p.m. is with musician Joel West, and lastly the family dance starts at 9:30 and goes until midnight with DJ Norman McLean Jr.

“Laughing is one of the big medicines that we have and I’m a survivor myself and between me and my buddies, when we get together we remember certain things but then we don’t disrespect or celebrate those bad things, but we kind of laugh about it to kind of play around with that tragedy, but we laugh about it and it goes some ways towards healing … I made it, I’m here, now I can make fun of that they lost, they didn’t win, they gave up on us and closed those schools down,” Patsey stated.