Each year, on September 30, Indigenous and Non-Indigenous people don orange shirts, scarves, shawls, and all manner of orange-coloured items to recognize and honour former residential school students, their families, and their communities.
“It’s a day for survivors to tell their stories, and for us to listen with open hearts,” says Phyllis Webstad, whose story of having a new shirt taken away on her first day of residential school inspired Orange Shirt Day. The shirt, shiny and orange, had been a gift from her grandmother.
The date of September 30 was chosen to represent the time of year when, historically, Indigenous children were taken from their homes to residential schools.
It’s also a day to engage in discussions about the legacy of the Residential School system in Canada, and a reminder that as Ms. Webstad says “Every child matters, even if you're an adult.”
Reading available on TRACpac:
- National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation
- Alberta University of the Arts
- Edmonton Public Library
- University of Victoria