National Day for Truth and Reconcilitation, also known as Orange Shirt Day, holds significance because it falls during the time of year when First Nations, Métis and Inuit children were taken away from their families to attend these “schools” across the country. The day, which originated in Williams Lake in 2013, eventually spread to schools across the province and country. The orange shirt symbol originated from the experience of Phyllis Webstad, who was given an orange shirt to wear on her first day of residential school at St. Joseph’s Mission in British Columbia. Upon arrival, her shirt was immediately stripped away from her, much like the cultural identity, sovereignty, self-governance and freedom that has been stripped away from Indigenous communities for generations by way of colonialism.
WHERE TO BUY ORANGE SHIRTS
- Shoshannah Greene’s Haida Orange Shirt — Proceeds go towards Orange Shirt Society
- KC Hall’s Every Child Matters Shirt — Proceeds go to Urban Native Youth Association (UNYA)
- Victoria Orange Shirt Day — Proceeds go towards Xe Xe Smun’ Eem Orange Shirt Day Ceremony, Residential School Survivors and raising awareness of Residential Schools
WAYS TO OBSERVE NATIONAL DAY FOR TRUTH AND RECONCILIATION
- Skookum Surrey’s National Day for Truth and Reconciliation Event
- Downtown Eastside Women’s Centre’s Shows by JB the First Lady & Peter White
- Templeton Indigenous Welcome Garden’s Commemoration of Orange Shirt Day
- Nisga’a Ts’amiks Vancouver Society’s Community Gathering
- City of Delta’s Blanket Exercise to Honour National Day for Truth and Reconciliation
- Spirit of the Children Society’s Pipe Ceremony
- Port Moody Station Museum’s Documentary Screening to honour National Day for Truth and Reconciliation
- Manitoba Theatre for Young People’s Frozen River
- Kisiskâciwan by Jeanette Kotowich
- UBC’s Orange Shirt Day Intergenerational March
- Britannia Community Centre’s Orange Shirt Day at Grandview Park
- The Indian Act
- The Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada’s 94 Calls to Action
- Reclaiming Power and Place: The Final Report of the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls
- United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP)
- Safe Passage: An Initiative of NWAC
- Federal Pathway to Address Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women, Girls and 2SLGBTQQIA+ People
- BC Human Rights Tribunal’s Expanding Our Vision: Cultural Equality & Indigenous Peoples’ Human Rights
- In Plain Sight: Addressing Indigenous-specific Racism and Discrimination in BC Health Care
- Red Women Rising: Indigenous Women Survivors in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside
- University of Alberta’s Open Online Course on Indigenous Histories and Contemporary Issues in Canada
- University of British Columbia’s Reconciliation Through Indigenous Education: a 6-Week Massive Open Online Course
- First Nation University of Canada’s Introduction to Understanding Indigenous Perspectives in Canada
OTHER WAYS TO SUPPORT:
- Learn about the Land you live on.
- Use your voice and contact your local municipalities, The Premier of BC, and The Prime Minister of Canada and demand justice for Indigenous Peoples.
- Donate to organizations dedicated to supporting Indigenous communities, including the Indian Residential Schools Survivors Society, Urban Native Youth Association, Orange Shirt Society, Legacy of Hope Foundation, Tsow-Tun Le Lum Society, and Reconciliation Canada.
- Take part in online Indigenous Cultural Safety Training.
- Read up on how you can be an ally to First Nations, Metis, and Inuit communities.
IF YOU NEED SUPPORT, CONTACT US AT 604-681-4437 OR CALL OUR 24/7 CALL-IN SUPPORT LINE AT 604-880-8881.