We Are All Treaty People

OTC marks Orange Shirt Day

  • Published - 30/09/2020
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  • Posted By - OTC
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Every year at the end of September, we remember the ongoing impact of residential schools through Orange Shirt Day. 

Orange Shirt Day is the legacy of the St. Joseph Mission (SJM) residential school commemoration event held in Williams Lake, BC, in the spring of 2013. At this event, Phyllis Webstad shared her story of residential school, she recalled having her new orange shirt taken away on her first day at the school. This story has become a way to raise awareness of the devastating impact of the residential school system on Indigenous people and their descendants. 

The date was chosen because it is the time of year in which children were taken from their homes to residential schools, and because it is an opportunity to set the stage for anti-racism and anti-bullying policies for the coming school year.  

The Office of the Treaty Commissioner celebrates the movement, which is growing and bringing all people, Indigenous and non-Indigenous, together. 

“Orange Shirt Day celebrates resilience. It honours the children who survived residential schools, and those who never made it home,” said Mary Culbertson, Treaty Commissioner of Saskatchewan. 

“It is important that we continue to mark Orange Shirt Day, and recognize the value of every child, because Every Child Matters.” 

The Office of the Treaty Commissioner asks that people wear an orange shirt on Sept. 30 to show their support.

The OTC is grateful to share Orange Shirt Day messages from Elders William Morin and Shirley Wolfe Keller, OTC youth Chante Spiiedel, and Speakers Bureau members Lyndon Linklater and Joely BigEagle-Kequahtooway.