What is Orange Shirt Day?
Whether you’re taking a trip to the grocery store or dropping your child off at school, you may notice that more people than normal are wearing orange today. That’s because today is Orange Shirt Day.
Orange Shirt Day is a day to remember, to witness, and to honour the healing journey of residential-school survivors and their families, and to demonstrate a commitment to processes of reconciliation.
The day celebrates the resilience of Indigenous Peoples and communities and provides an opportunity for all people in Canada to engage in discussions or provide acknowledgement and support in addressing the brutal legacy of the residential school system.
Orange Shirt Day was born out of Phyllis’ story. In 1973, when Phyllis (Jack) Webstad was six years old, she was sent to the Mission School near Williams Lake.
Phyllis’ story reminds us every day of the children that were taken from their families and sent to residential schools. Orange Shirt Day is an opportunity to set the stage for anti-racism and anti-bullying policies for the coming school year.
Residential schools are a dark part of Canadian history and learning about them can be hard for many people. As hard as it may be for some to learn about residential schools and our shared colonial history, it’s critical to acknowledge and recognize these topics in a spirit of reconciliation and for future generations of children.
If you’re interested in learning more about residential schools, here are some helpful resources:
- 5 Facts about Indigenous Peoples in Northern BC
- Culturally Respectful Relationships: Some Terms and Issues
- Cultural Safety: Respect and Dignity in Relationships (video)
- Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) – The commission travelled to all parts of Canada documenting the stories of survivors, families, communities, and anyone personally affected by residential schools.
Enter the T-Shirt Decorating Challenge
Take part in the t-shirt decorating challenge by reflecting on what Orange Shirt Day means to you and then decorating a t-shirt of your choice. Make sure that you include the phrase “Every Child Matters” in your design.
Send us a photo of your completed design from September 15, 2020 to October 1, 2020 and you’ll be entered to win one of three prize packs including a children’s book from the First Nations Child & Family Caring Society called “Spirit Bear and Children Make History” and a handmade cloth face mask. Be sure to include a brief note on what Orange Shirt Day means to you.
We’ll be drawing one winner from each of the Northeast, Northwest, and Interior regions of Northern Health.