What is Orange Shirt Day?
Orange Shirt Day is a legacy of the St. Joseph Mission residential school commemoration event, held in Williams Lake, BC, in the spring of 2013 that was inspired by Phyllis (Jack) Webstad's story of having her new orange shirt taken away on her first day of school at the Mission. Since the event, it has become an opportunity to keep the discussion on all aspects of residential schools happening annually.
With the number of events growing across the country, September was chosen as it marks the back-to-school season and also reflects the time in which Indigenous children were taken from their families to be placed in residential schools.
How to Get Involved
To commemorate Orange Shirt Day on September 30, everyone is encouraged to wear an orange shirt in recognition of, and to honour, the children, families, friends, and intergenerational survivors of Canada’s Indian Residential Schools.
Various activities take place each year, engaging communities to learn about the impacts Indian Residential Schools had on the survivors, intergenerational survivors, and the many children that did not survive.
In Edmonton, on September 30, 2020, the High Level Bridge will be lit in orange to recognize this day and to encourage the city to reflect upon the legacy of Indian Residential Schools.