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Local student Waboose creates own design for Orange Shirt Day

Over 600 shirts sold, funds go to Children of Shingwauk

Avery Waboose - a St. Mary’s College Grade 12 student - has put his artistic skills to use, putting his own design on Every Child Matters shirts to be worn for Orange Shirt Day on Friday.

Orange Shirt Day - recognizing the legacy of the Canadian Indian residential school system - forms part of Friday's National Day for Truth and Reconciliation.

“Basically, one of my former art teachers, Mr. DiCerbo, came up with the idea. He came to me one day and asked if I wanted to make a shirt and I took the offer,” Waboose told SooToday.

“The design has a lot of symbolism residing in it,” Waboose said.

“The moccasins in the centre represent the unfilled shoes of the children that didn't make it through those damaging times. The northern lights behind the moccasins were inspired by Inuit legend where northern lights are souls of the dead playing. The stars on the sides represent that they are still shining bright, that they are something that can not be forgotten, the stars at night being a reminder of what we have lost.”

“The flowers represent the growth and strength of our culture as a whole. Even after losing our stars we are still here and still shining even through desperate times. We are strong and we will remain that way,” Waboose said.

650 of the Waboose-designed T-shirts have been sold.

Proceeds will go to the Children of Shingwauk Alumni Association.

“There's been a lot of good feedback from staff and students, mostly staff. They always say good things about it. I'm also getting good feedback from students because they are buying the shirts,” Waboose said. 

“It is very important to acknowledge things that happened in the past to remind ourselves not to forget. The history of the orange shirt holds great value to our culture and reminds us of our past and the residential schools,” Waboose said.

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