On September 30, people all across Canada will wear orange shirts to remember and honour Indigenous children who attended Residential Schools. Indigenous Ministries and Justice at The United Church of Canada asks you to participate in Orange Shirt Day!
Why orange? Because of Phyllis Jack Webstad from the Stswecem’c Xgat’tem First Nation, who went to St. Joseph Mission Residential School. On her first day of school, Phyllis wore an orange shirt that her grandmother had given her. It was immediately taken away, and that marked the beginning of Phyllis’s long separation from her family and community, a separation caused by actions of the church and the federal government.
Orange Shirt Day is a time for us all to remember those events, their ongoing impact, and just as importantly, the continuing strength and resilience of Indigenous peoples. Former Healing Programs Coordinator Honarine Scott has written a powerful reflection on this.