- A day for all Canadians to recognize and commemerate the legacy of residential schools
- A day to grieve the lost children & honour survivors
Orange Shirt Day is an Indigenous-led grassroots commemorative day that honours the children who survived Indian Residential Schools and remembers those who did not. This day relates to the experience of Phyllis Webstad, a Northern Secwpemc (Shuswap) from the Stswecem’c Xgat’tem First Nation, on her first day of school, where she arrived dressed in a new orange shirt, which was taken from her. It is now a symbol of the stripping away of culture, freedom and self-esteem experienced by Indigenous children over generations (SOURCE).
“Seven generations of children went through the residential schools. And each of those children who were educated were told that their lives were not as good as the lives of non-aboriginal people of this country. […] At the same time that was going on, non-aboriginal children in non-aboriginal schools in this country were told the same thing about aboriginal people. So, as a result, many generations of children, including you and your parents, have been raised to think about things in a different way, in a wrong way. And the way that is negative when it comes to the aboriginal people. We need to change that.” – Murray Sinclair
Having conversations with friends and people of the indigenous community, supporting indigenous charities, businesses, and volunteering, are all great ways to support indigenous people. There are many great resources online as well, like youtube videos, podcasts and more! See the links below:
Beyond September 30th
There is no better time than now to start asking questions and to educate ourselves on indigenous history, beyond just this day. This is a time for continued compassion and deep self-reflection, especially when educating ourselves on the stories of survivors of residential schools.