Orange Shirt Day began in 2013 and is observed annually on September 30th to honour Residential School Survivors and their families, and to remember those who did not come home. Students, teachers and their parents actively participate each year by wearing orange shirts, reading about the history and legacy of Residential Schools, and pledging that “Every Child Matters.”
Orange Shirt Day was inspired by the true story of Residential School Survivor Phyllis Webstad. When Phyllis was six years old she went to a Residential School for the first time wearing a brand new “shiny orange shirt” bought by her Grandmother. When she arrived at the school the shirt was taken from her, never to be worn again.
Medicine Wheel Education published “The Orange Shirt Story” and “Phyllis’s Orange Shirt,” both written by Phyllis and illustrated by Brock Nicol. These books are available in English, French, and Shuswap. New this year is “Orange Shirt Day” an informative non-fiction title, edited by Phyllis and Joan Sorely. It is a wonderful resource for teachers, parents and students that is engaging and accessible to older readers. “Orange Shirt Day” is designed as a guide to help students participate in Orange Shirt Day respectfully, authentically and effectively, while teaching readers the history of Residential Schools in Canada, and reflecting on Reconciliation.
Observe Orange Shirt Day with your kids, cohort, class, or friends, with the help of the titles below!