September 30th marks the first National Day for Truth and Reconciliation. It is meant to honour the children who never came home, the survivors of residential schools, and the impacts on families and communities. It also commemorates Orange Shirt Day
Orange Shirt Day was founded by Phyllis Webstad, a Northern Secwpemc (Shuswap) from the Stswecem’c Xgat’tem First Nation (Canoe Creek Indian Band). When she turned 6 years old, her granny managed to pull enough money together to buy her a new outfit to go to the Mission school that included a shiny orange shirt. A shirt Phyllis was proud to wear. However, when she arrived at the Mission, they stripped her, and took away her clothes, including the orange shirt! More about Phyllis and her story can be found at https://www.orangeshirtday.org.
The day honours the lost children and Survivors of residential schools, their families and communities. Public commemoration of the tragic and painful history and ongoing impacts of residential schools is a vital component of the reconciliation process.
We encourage everyone to take time on September 30th to wear orange to commemorate residential school survivors and those who never made it home. Take time to reflect, build relationships and learn more about the Calls to Action from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. Reflect on your learning from this time last year and commit to continue this learning journey to learn the truth and to build positive, respectful relationships.
We respectfully share some resource links to assist you in your journey: