This Monday, September 30, is Orange Shirt Day in Canada. Its purpose is to bring awareness to the residential school systems that existed in Canada until the 1990’s, and the loss of culture, various forms of abuse, and trauma that they caused to many thousands of Indigenous children.
Orange Shirt Day was founded in 2013 in Williams Lake, B.C., by the St. Joseph Mission Residential School Commemoration Project to commemorate these tragic events, to bring healing to Indigenous communities, and to commit to reconciliation.
The colour of the shirt was inspired by one of the survivors of this residential school, Phyllis Webstad. On her first day at her school, she was stripped of her own clothing and belongings, including a new orange shirt that her grandmother had saved money up to buy her for her first day. She never forgot that moment, and orange was chosen as the colour for this reason.
September 30 was chosen as the date because it is close to the time of year when Indigenous children were taken from their homes to forcibly attend the residential schools.
You can learn more about this important day by visiting the organizer’s website. The Baron hopes to see a campus filled with orange shirts next week!