It’s not often the results on the playing surface are the second most important thing for a varsity sporting event. However, this past weekend in Saskatoon, that was exactly the case for the 2019 Sled Dog Cross-Country Open.
Five Canada West schools (Alberta, Regina, Manitoba, Saskatchewan and UBC Okanagan) donned orange singlets on Saturday, in recognition of Orange Shirt Day (September 30, 2019).
It marked the second year in a row the Huskies have worn orange for their home event, with other schools joining this year for the first time.
“When I was initially contacted about participating in the project, I saw it as a fantastic opportunity for our student-athletes to learn about a historical context in Canadian history that they likely are not aware of,” said Golden Bears and Pandas cross-country head coach Sean Baynton. “Given that we are a post secondary institution - we celebrate open dialogue, engaging in deep learning, and seeking opportunities to learn. In that light I saw this as an opportunity to engage in those dialogues and conversations with our student-athletes.”
Orange Shirt Day is the legacy of Phyllis (Jack) Webstad who was forced to attend the St. St. Joseph Mission (SJM) residential school in Williams Lake, B.C. On her first day of school at SJM, Phyllis’ shiny new orange shirt was taken away. Her story became an opportunity to continue the discussions around residential schools and why everyone is encouraged everyone to wear an orange shirt on September 30th.
Five Canada West schools wore Orange in Saskatoon on Saturday
Along with the orange singlets, Sled Dog Open also featured a Smudging Ceremony as well as presentation of a traditional gift from the Huskie cross-country captains to a group of First Nations Elders.