Orange Shirt Day
Recognized annually on September 30th
What is Orange Shirt Day?
Orange Shirt Day, which started in 2013, was designed to educate people and promote awareness about the Indian Residential School system and the impact on Indigenous communities. in Canada. We wear orange in affirmation of our commitment to truth and reconciliation.
Indian residential schools operated in Canada between 1831 and 1996 at over 130 sites. The schools were unsafe physically, cognitively, social/emotionally and spiritually. More than 150 000 children were forced to attend the schools. Children suffered ongoing, often severe abuse & neglect and thousands of children died. The schools were a direct cause of loss of language, culture, traditional knowledge and community. The effects continue to echo through our nation.
One Child’s Story
Phyllis was only 6 years old when she was forced to attend residential school in the early 1970’s. The first day at the school was tragic and one she would never forget. Alone and frightened, all her items were taken away, including her best and favourite shiny orange shirt. “The colour orange has always reminded me of that day….how my feelings didn’t matter, how no one cared and how I felt like I was worth nothing. All of us little children were crying and no one cared”.
On September 30th, the same time of year children were taken to Residential schools, we remember and acknowledge this painful legacy. We wear orange to symbolize the journey towards healing, truth and reconciliation, in honour of the children who survived residential schools and those who did not.
Every Child Matters
Moving Towards Reconciliation
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