Orange Shirt Day is a Canadian observance that takes place annually on September 30th.
It is a day to recognize and raise awareness about the history and legacy of the residential school system in Canada and to honor the experiences of Indigenous children who attended these schools.
The name "Orange Shirt Day" is derived from the story of Phyllis Webstad, a survivor of the Canadian residential school system. When Phyllis was a young girl, her new orange shirt, which she had been excited to wear on her first day of school, was taken away from her by school officials. This event had a lasting impact on her, symbolizing the loss of her identity, culture, and language during her time at the residential school.
Orange Shirt Day serves as a reminder of the harm caused by the residential school system, which was a system of government-sponsored and church-run schools that Indigenous children in Canada were forcibly sent to between the 19th and mid-20th centuries. Many children experienced physical, emotional, and cultural abuse at these schools, and the system had a profound and damaging impact on Indigenous communities.
Today, Orange Shirt Day is an opportunity for Canadians to come together in the spirit of reconciliation, to acknowledge the harm caused by the residential school system, and to show support for Indigenous communities in their healing journey. It's also a day to promote awareness and understanding of the historical and ongoing struggles faced by Indigenous peoples in Canada. Many people wear orange shirts on this day to symbolize their commitment to these important goals.