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Today, on the first National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, we take time to reflect and act upon our responsibilities to dismantle the systemic racism and colonialism that continues to impact Indigenous peoples in Canada.
On June 3, 2021, The Government of Canada passed legislation (Bill C-5) to recognize every September 30 as National Day for Truth and Reconciliation. This day is an important step in the reconciliation process. It provides an opportunity to recognize and commemorate the tragic history and ongoing legacy of residential schools, and to honour their survivors, their families, and communities.
September 30 is also recognized as Orange Shirt Day, created in 2013 to educate people and promote awareness in Canada about the residential school system and the impact it has had on Indigenous communities, and honour the Indigenous children who were sent away to residential school.
Every year, people across Canada wear orange and participate in Orange Shirt Day events to recognize and raise awareness about the history and legacies of the residential school system in Canada.
Orange Shirt Day originates from the story of Phyllis Webstad from the Stswecem’c Xgat’tem First Nation.
In 1973, on her first day at St. Joseph’s Residential School in Williams Lake, BC, Phyllis’s shiny new orange shirt was stripped from her, never to be seen again.
40 years later, on September 30th, 2013, Phyllis spoke publicly for the first time about her experience, and thus began the Orange Shirt Day movement.
Commemorate, reflect and honour survivors and their families by doing your part to actively learn about the history of Indigenous peoples in Canada.
Resources and Learning Opportunities:
Calgary-based Indigenous Agencies