Orange Shirt Day
In 2013, Sept. 30 was declared Orange Shirt Day. It is a day to acknowledge the harm and trauma caused by the residential school system and remind everyone of the impact that is still felt to this day. It is also a day to affirm our commitment to ensure everyone around us matters.
The orange shirt was chosen to represent this day as it references a real orange shirt that was taken from residential school survivor, Phyllis (Jack) Webstad. When Phyllis was six years old, her grandmother prepared her to be sent for her first day at the Mission school. Even though they had very little money, her grandmother took her and bought her a brand-new outfit. Phyllis picked out a shiny orange shirt. She was so proud and excited. When she got to school, they stripped her and took away her clothes, including her new orange shirt. She never saw it again and no one cared about how upset it made her. The colour orange came to symbolize for her, how she was made to feel that her feelings didn’t matter, and no one cared for her as she was worth nothing. Phyllis’s orange shirt is a symbol of the loss of worth, culture, identity, community, family and even life, which Indigenous children faced because of residential schools.