Country-Rock singer Sandy Carifelle is set to perform songs from his Stand-up Proud CD on September 30 as part of the 2019 Orange Shirt Day events in Williams Lake BC. Orange Shirt Day recognizes residential school victims and survivors. He wrote the CD title’s cover song by the same name about five years ago, but didn’t record it until 2018.
“The lyrics tell of how the kids were taken away from their parents and homes to attend residential schools, and how they couldn’t speak, sing or dance to their culture,” says Carifelle, who was raised on the Peavine Metis Settlement in Northern Alberta and now lives at Williams Lake. “As strong as we are as First Peoples, we still stand up proud no matter what – something our people are known for.”
Carifelle’s father was a residential school survivor. His experience served as motivation for his son to write the song in tribute to all residential school survivors. “Because of his experience in residential schools, my father couldn’t show us affection and never told us he loved us unless he was under the influence,” says Carifelle. “He never did bad things to us, and I don’t recall ever getting a spanking from him.”
Orange Shirt Day was created by Williams Lake BC-native Phyllis Jack Webstad, who was wearing an orange T-shirt the day she was stolen by the government and force-relocated to a residential school. Nuns took
away her orange T-shirt upon her arrival. Hence, Orange Shirt Day.
September 30 is chosen as the date for the annual event because it represents the time of year when Indigenous children were historically taken from their homes and relocated to residential schools.
The show will be recorded and aired on Canadian Geographic TV Channel at a later date.