In 1973, 6-year-old Phyllis Webstad was excited to wear her new orange shirt to her first day of school. Phyllis says of the shirt, "it was so bright and exciting—just like it felt to be going to school!" When she arrived at St. Joseph Mission Residential School, her shirt was taken and never given back. For Phyllis, "the color orange has always reminded me of that and how my feelings didn't matter, how no one cared and how I felt like I was worth nothing. All of us little children were crying and no one cared."
Established in 2013, Orange Shirt Day recognizes the legacy of the Residential Schools System for First Nations, Métis and Inuit families and communities. By wearing orange, we acknowledge the truths of Residential Schools in Canada, we honour Survivors, and we remember the thousands of children murdered by these schools, many of them buried in unmarked graves.
On Thursday, September 30, 2021 wear orange to participate in Orange Shirt Day. Follow @UIEC_tdsb and @tdsb on Twitter to see how students and staff from across the Toronto District School Board recognized Orange Shirt Day.
For more information, visit the Urban Indigenous Education Centre website. To learn more about Phyllis’ story and Orange Shirt Day visit www.orangeshirtday.org.
See the Orange Shirt Day 2021 poster.
See Elder Dr. Duke Redbird, recite the poem The Orange Shirt, September 2021.