September 23, 2020
Orange Shirt Day
To mark this important day in our classrooms, and to help recognize the harm caused by the residential school system, we’re asking members to wear orange on Wednesday, September 30, 2020.
Let’s champion the message of this day of collective reconciliation, that ‘Every Child Matters,’ and show our support by wearing orange and taking part in school-based commemorative activities.
See ETFO’s First Nation, Métis, and Inuit (FNMI) education resources and professional learning opportunities for members, including learning that covers residential schools and reconciliation.
What is Orange Shirt Day?
In 1973, six-year old Phyllis Webstad was gifted a brand new orange shirt from her grandmother and wore it to the residential (mission) school she attended in British Columbia. Upon her arrival, school officials removed and discarded the shirt from her and replaced it with a school uniform. This greatly impacted the mental and emotional well-being of Webstad and symbolized that “her feelings never mattered.”
September 30 was chosen as the date to commemorate all the children that attended residential schools as it was also the time of year that children had to leave their homes and communities to attend the schools.
This annual campaign began in 2013 after Webstad shared this experience at a reunion with other survivors.
- Aboriginal Healing Foundation. Where Are The Children?
- British Columbia Teacher Federation. Gladys We Never Knew.
- Canadian Teachers’ Federation. Speak Truth To Power Canada: Defenders for Human Rights.
- First Nations, Métis and Inuit Education Association of Ontario. Truth and Reconciliation in the Classroom.
- Manitoba Teachers’ Society. Secret Path Lesson Plans.
- National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation. Teaching Resources.
- Ontario Teachers’ Federation. Useful Links for Aboriginal Education.
- Secret Path by Gord Downie. Video and Resources.