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500 Abbotsford students to walk for Orange Shirt Day

Participation from 14 schools at event to recognize intergenerational impacts of residential schools

Around 500 students from 14 Abbotsford-area schools will be walking in Mill Lake Park Friday morning to raise awareness about long-lasting impacts of residential schools.

“To acknowledge, honour and show respect to the survivors of residential school,” the Abbotsford School District’s Aboriginal department is hosting the walk, which is set to start at 10:30 a.m. for the annual Orange Shirt Day.

Orange Shirt Day is intended to raise awareness for intergenerational impacts of residential schools, which have a documented history of abuse of Indigenous youth who have attended, and have been deemed an act of cultural genocide by Indigenous leaders.

The walk will begin in the open grassy area by the water park in Mill Lake Park, and led by drummers, will go a short distance to the Bevan Road area of the park, across from Godson Elementary School.

There, residential school survivors and family members will speak to the students, and one school will sing an honour song with cultural support worker Wenonah Justin.

Members of the local Indigenous community will also be in attendance, and students have been invited to write personal messages of reconciliation, which will be presented to elders at the ceremony.

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