It's become an office tradition to come together each year on Sept. 30 for a group photo in solidarity of Orange Shirt Day. This year we had to do it virtually, but the spirit is still strong! The event was created to show respect for residential school survivors and their families, and to commit to the principle that every child matters.
UVic is committed to reconciliation. We're working to foster respect and mutual understanding with all Indigenous peoples and communities. You can partner in the work of reconciliation by listening, learning and sharing on Orange Shirt Day.
What is Orange Shirt Day?
Orange Shirt Day is a national movement in Canada. In this annual event, Indigenous and non-Indigenous people come together in the spirit of hope and reconciliation to honour former residential school students, their families and communities. We consider the impacts of the policies and actions of the Government of Canada and the churches that operated the schools.
Orange Shirt Day began in Williams Lake, BC in 2013 at the St. Joseph Mission (SJM) residential school commemoration event at which survivor Phyllis Webstad told the story of her shiny new orange shirt taken away from her on her first day of school at the Mission.
Orange Shirt Day occurs in early Fall because this is the time of year when children were removed from their families and forced to attend residential schools. The day inspires Canadians to take part in anti-racism and anti-bullying initiatives at school and work.
The residential school era began in the early 1870’s, with the last school closing in 1996. More than 150,000 Indigenous, Métis and Inuit children attended these schools. There are an estimated 80,000 survivors living today.
To learn more about what the University of Victoria is doing for Orange Shirt Day, including a conversation between UVic Chancellor Shelagh Rogers and Phyllis Webstad, a photowall, information about support and resources, please visit uvic.ca/event/orange-shirt-day.
- Posted September 30, 2020