Today, September 30th, is Orange Shirt Day. It also marks the first annual National Day of Truth and Reconciliation, which was passed by legislation this summer to become a federal statutory holiday. Frankland Falcons are wearing orange today to express our deepest sorrow, stand in solidarity, and to acknowledge the atrocities and legacy of the Residential school system for First Nations, Metis and Inuit families and communities.
Established in 2013, Orange Shirt Day was inspired by Phyllis Webstad, who was excited to wear her new orange shirt to her first day of school in 1973. However, when she arrived at St. Joseph Mission Residential School, her shirt was taken and never returned. From that day forward, the colour orange, for Phyllis, reminded her of that moment, how her feelings didn’t matter, how she felt like she wasn’t worth anything and that no one cared for the children who were crying about it that day.
Now, on this day, we recognize the legacy and impact of the residential schools system on First Nations, Métis and Inuit families and communities.
We acknowledge the legacy of residential schools in Canada by wearing orange and we honour the survivors. We remember the thousands of children who were murdered and buried in unmarked graves.
Follow @UIEC_tdsb and @tdsb on Twitter to see how students and staff from across the Toronto District School Board recognize Orange Shirt Day.
For more information, visit the Urban Indigenous Education Centre website. To learn more about Phyllis’ story and Orange Shirt Day visit http://www.orangeshirtday.org