Remembering Native Residential Schools: #OrangeShirtDay is September 30

Phyllis Webstad Orange Shirt Day Presentation
Phyllis Webstad Orange Shirt Day Presentation

Orange Shirt day is an annual event held each September 30th in remembrance of the Canadian Residential School system and the impact of this government polic...

Vincent Schilling

#OrangeShirtDay grew out of Phyllis Webstad's story of having her shiny new orange shirt taken on her 1st day of school

September 30th is #OrangeShirtDay, an annual day to create awareness regarding the plight of Native Residential / Indian Boarding Schools in Canada as well as in the United States. This year, September 30th falls on Sunday, thus teachers and individuals are also recognizing September 28th by wearing orange shirts to work or schools.

According to the website , Orange Shirt Day is a legacy of the St. Joseph Mission residential school commemoration event held in Williams Lake, BC, Canada, in the spring of 2013.

#OrangeShirtDay grew out of Phyllis Webstad's story of having her shiny new orange shirt taken away on her first day of school. She never saw the shirt again.

In a video by Webstad, she describes being stripped of her orange shirt that had been a gift from her grandmother. “Today is a day to honor and remember residential school survivors and their families, every child matters,” says Webstad in the video.

The effort has since grown to receive international exposure and recognition.

As cited in the Canadian news site Global News, Canada’s Minister of Indigenous Services Jane Philpott is urging Canadians to wear orange on Sept. 30 as part of Orange Shirt Day.

“All Canadians have a role to play in reconciliation,” said Philpott as well as Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs Minister Carolyn Bennett in a statement.

“On September 30, we encourage everyone to not only wear orange but to also take this opportunity to learn more about the legacy of Indian Residential Schools…”

People have also been taking to social media posting selfies of themselves wearing orange shirts accompanied with the hashtags #OrangeShirtDay and #EveryChildMatters.

Here are some of the recent tweets regarding #OrangeShirtDay.

Follow Indian Country Today’s associate editor and senior correspondent, Vincent Schilling (Akwesasne Mohawk) on Twitter -@VinceSchilling


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