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Orange Shirt Day


Orange Shirt Day events graphic
This week we are sharing information on both in-person and virtual events taking place across the North to commemorate Orange Shirt Day 2021.

Orange Shirt Day is a time of collective remembrance during which we honour those who attended Residential Schools as well as their families and communities. It is also a time to demonstrate personal and organizational commitments to reconciliation. This year Thursday, September 30 is Orange Shirt Day across Canada.

To support Northern Health’s awareness and understanding of the significance of Orange Shirt Day, the Indigenous Health department will be sharing information and resources each week throughout September. 

This week we are sharing information on both in-person and virtual events taking place across the North to commemorate Orange Shirt Day 2021.

In-person events

  • Prince Rupert: Truth and Reconciliation Walk at Prince Rupert Middle School Track and Field

Thursday, September 30 from 1 pm to 5 pm

Join in a walk to commemorate Orange Shirt Day and to honour Indigenous children who were sent away to residential schools across Canada. The goal is for participants to walk a minimum of 215 laps together as a community. Contact Friendship House Prince Rupert at AandD@friendshiphouse.ca for more information.

  • Dawson Creek: Orange Shirt Day March at N.A.R. Park

Thursday, September 30 at 3 pm

This annual march honours all those who have been affected by the Indian Residential School experience. Participants are encouraged to wear orange. More information and event details can be located on the event organizers’ Facebook page.

Virtual events

  • Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc world wide drumming circle

Thursday, September 30 at 2:15 pm

Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc First Nation is inviting people across the world to simultaneously drum for the missing children of Indian residential schools on the first ever National Day of Truth and Reconciliation. The time, 2:15 pm, was chosen to signify the 215 children found on the site of the former Kamloops Indian Residential School in May of this year. Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc is urging everyone to learn the Secwepemc Honour Song, which can be accessed on YouTube.

  • National Day for Truth and Reconciliation hosted by Gord Downie and Chanie Wenjack Fund

All content is accessible on Thursday, September 30th.

This online discussion features speakers from across the country and is designed to explore this new day of reflection, the significance of September 30, what this means for reconciliation in Canada, and how everyone can participate meaningfully. For more information and full event details visit the Gord Downie and Chanie Wenjack Fund website.

  • Truth and Reconciliation Talking Circle hosted by University of Northern British Columbia (UNBC)

Thursday, September 30 at 10 am

This 90-minute event is open to everyone. The Talking Circle will feature singing, dancing and storytelling, as well as presentations from First Nations Studies Associate Professor, Dr. Daniel Sims; First Nations Studies Assistant Professor, Dr. Jessie King; and English Professor, Dr. Rob Budde. Special guests Kelsey Abraham and his daughter Bella Rain Abraham will perform traditional dances. Please visit the UNBC website for more details and to access the Zoom webinar link.

  • The National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation’s Truth and Reconciliation Week

Monday, September 27 – Friday, October 1

Truth and Reconciliation Week is a 5-day national event that will include important conversations on topics including Treaties; First Nations, Métis, and Inuit land claims; and the residential school system. This online event will provide historical workshops, exclusive video content, and activities— all supported by artistic and cultural performances by First Nations, Métis, and Inuit artists. You can view more information and register for the event on the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation’s website.

Additional ways to honour Orange Shirt Day

There are many ways to honour and participate in Orange Shirt Day for those who are unable to attend an event. First Nations, Inuit, and Métis organizations across the country provide resources to help learn about, reflect on, and engage with Indigenous peoples and our collective history. It is important to remember that First Nations, Inuit, and Métis Peoples share many similarities, but they each have their own distinct heritage, language, cultural practices, worldview, and spiritual beliefs.

Taking the time to educate yourself about Indigenous histories and current realities is an important way to honour Orange Shirt Day and to help spread awareness about the devastating harms to Indigenous peoples that have resulted from colonization.

Additional resources

Support available

Support is available for anyone affected by the residential school experience.

  1. A national Indian Residential School Crisis Line has been set up to provide support for former students and those affected. People can access emotional and crisis referral services by calling the 24-hour national crisis line: 1-866-925-4419.
  2. The KUU-US Crisis Line Society provides a First Nations and Indigenous specific crisis line available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, toll-free from anywhere in British Columbia. The KUU-US Crisis Line can be reached toll-free at 1-800-588-8717 or online.
  3. The Northern BC Crisis Line offers 24/7 support across the NH region, and can be reached at 1-888-562-1214.