Dr. Phyllis Webstad Indigenous Scholarship
A new scholarship for Indigenous students has been created in honour of Dr. Phyllis Webstad.
On September 22, 2022, Niagara College had the privilege of hosting Dr. Phyllis Webstad, founder of the Orange Shirt Society and residential school survivor, as our honoured guest to lead ceremonies and engage our community in discussions about the legacy of the residential school system.
Phyllis’s advocacy inspired the naming of Orange Shirt Day which falls on September 30th annually, Canada’s National Day for Truth and Reconciliation. Orange Shirt Day was named in recognition of Phyllis’s tireless pursuit of truth and reconciliation for the Indigenous peoples of Canada. It recognizes the harm the residential school system did to children’s sense of self-esteem and wellbeing, and affirms our commitment to ensuring that everyone around us matters.
About Dr. Phyllis Webstad
Phyllis is a third-generation residential school survivor. She was six years old when she entered the St Joseph’s Mission Residential School in Williams Lake, B.C. She was excited to begin school and chose a bright orange shirt to wear on her first day, lovingly bought by her grandmother. When she arrived at school, however, she was stripped of her clothes, including the orange shirt, and she never saw it again. As part of her healing journey, Phyllis founded the Orange Shirt Society and now travels the country, telling her story and raising awareness about the impacts of the residential school system.
About the Scholarship
In recognition of Phyllis’s significant contributions to Truth and Reconciliation and her tireless advocacy for Indigenous people, Niagara College presented her with a new scholarship established in honour of her visit.
The scholarship will support Indigenous students attending Niagara College, providing them with much needed financial support during their first year of college, setting them on a path for success.
Niagara College welcomes over 300 Indigenous students every year from all over Ontario. Through our Indigenous Education Centre students are provided with individual assistance, cultural programming, leadership opportunities, and culturally safe practices to enhance the academic, personal, social, and spiritual lives of our Indigenous students. Receiving an award in Phyllis Webstad’s name, a symbol of strength for Indigenous people, will encourage their academic journey.
When the scholarship was announced on September 22nd, 2022, we were pleased to share that the fund would be established with $40,000 in contributions from our generous Niagara community. This initial investment will provide four, $1,000 to Indigenous students annually.
Our goal is to grow this fund to eventually support every Indigenous student who attends Niagara College. Please consider donating today to continue reducing financial barriers for Indigenous students wishing to access a Niagara College education.