Orange Shirt Day began in Williams Lake in 2013 and has since spread to schools across B.C. and Canada. (Orangeshirtday.org)
Orange Shirt Day (September 30th) is a day when we honour the Indigenous children who were sent away to residential schools in Canada and learn more about the history of those schools.
September 30th has been declared Orange Shirt Day annually, in recognition of the harm the residential school system did to children's sense of self-esteem and well being, and as an affirmation of our commitment to ensure that everyone around us matters.
The “orange shirt” in Orange Shirt Day refers to the new shirt that Phyllis Webstad was given to her by her grandmother for her first day of school at St. Joseph’s Mission residential school in British Columbia. When Phyllis got to school, they took away her clothes, including her new shirt. It was never returned. To Phyllis, the colour orange has always reminded her of her experiences at residential school and, as she has said, “how my feelings didn’t matter, how no one cared and I felt like I was worth nothing. All of us little children were crying and no one cared.”
Hometown Rivalry has teamed up with local student Ella Keeler from Vincent Massey Public School in Oshawa to design this years Orange Shirt Day Tee shirt. She learned about Chanie Wenjack in school last year and this tee shirt design holds a special place in her heart. We love her two feather design, formed into a heart shape. It reminds us that Every Child Matters. The proceeds of the sale of every t-shirt is in support of the Downie Wenjack Fund.
Please note due to different brands for youth vs. adult sizing, the colours are not exact matches. Most importantly they are orange.
Inspired by Chanie Wenjack's story and Gord Downie's call to build a better Canada, the Gord Downie & Chanie Wenjack Fund aims to build cultural understanding and create a path toward reconciliation between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples.
Their goal is to improve the lives of Indigenous people by building awareness, education, and connections between all Canadians.