Established in 2013, Orange Shirt Day was inspired by Phyllis Webstad, who was excited to wear her new orange shirt to her first day of school in 1973. However, when she arrived at St. Joseph Mission Residential School, her shirt was taken and never returned. From that day forward, the colour orange, for Phyllis, “reminded me of that [moment] and how my feelings didn’t matter, how no one cared and I felt like I was worth nothing. All of us little children were crying and no one cared.”
Now, on this day, we recognize the legacy of the residential school system for First Nations, Métis and Inuit families and communities.
We acknowledge the legacy of residential schools in Canada by wearing orange and we honour the survivors. We remember the children who were buried in unmarked graves.
On Friday, September 30, 2022 wear orange to participate in Orange Shirt Day.
Orange Shirt Day marks the opening of the conversation, not the end.
In 2015, the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation released the 6 Actions of ReconciliACTION that were developed to assist the public in supporting their work towards Reconciliation.
These actions are:
- Learn the history between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples;
- Understand the history and legacy of residential schools;
- Explore the unique intersections we have between treaty, constitutional, Indigenous, and human rights we have in Canada;
- Recognize the rich contributions that Indigenous peoples have made to Canada;
- Take action to address historical injustices and present-day wrongs; and
- Teach others.