Orange Shirt Day

About Orange Shirt Day:

Orange Shirt Day is a day to honour Indigenous children who were sent to Residential School in Canada and to learn more about the history of those schools. 
Residential schools were church-run schools where approximately 150,000 Métis, Inuit and First Nations children were sent between the 1860s and the 1990s. The schools harmed Indigenous children by removing them from their families, forcing them to speak English or French instead of their ancestral languages, disconnecting them from their culture and traditions and forcing them to adopt Christianity in order to assimilate into Canadian society. The government has since acknowledged that this approach was wrong, cruel and ineffective, and offered an official apology to the Indigenous people of Canada in 2008. The Shubenacadie Residential School in NS was just acknowledged as an historic site.
We wear orange in reference to Phyllis Webstad who was given an orange shirt by her grandmother for her first day of school at St. Joseph’s Mission Residential School in British Columbia. When she arrived at school, the orange shirt was taken from Phyllis and never returned. Phyllis now travels around Canada, telling her story of the Residential School experience and, as she has said, “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.” We honour Orange Shirt Day annually in recognition that every child's life matters.

Events: Wednesday, September 30, 2020

 Live Ceremony: IWK Newman Gardens (University Ave in front of Womens Entrance)

* Masks and Social Distancing Required

10:30 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.  

  • Land acknowledgement & opening Remarks from ETL 
  • Prayer and smudge offering by a community Elder 
  • Significance of OSD 
  • Honoring song 
  • Jingle dress “side-step”/Healing dance 
  • Closing remarks  

Virtual Panel: Online (information TBD)

12:00 p.m. - 2:00 p.m.  

  • Panelists to speak on the following topics:
    Opening by a community Elder 
  • Phyllis’ story - Significance of Orange Shirt Day  
  • Timeline of Indian Residential Schools 
  • Statistics of Indigenous Women & Children 
  • Squashing systemic racism: How to be an ally and what you should be doing as a professional 
  • Closing remarks 

Want an official Orange Shirt Day t-shirt?
If you are working on-site on Wednesday, Sept. 30, RSVP to this event to receive an official Orange Shirt Day t-shirt! Shirts are available on a first-come-first-serve basis while supply lasts.  

Those working from home and joining in virtually are also encouraged to wear orange (a shirt, a pin, scarf, jacket, anything!) in honour of the day.  

Welalin (Thank you)