Remembering Native Residential Schools: #OrangeShirtDay is September 30

#OrangeShirtDay grew out of Phyllis Webstad's story of having her shiny new orange shirt taken on her 1st day of school

This story was republished from 2018 - tweets from 2019 has been added.

September 30th is #OrangeShirtDay, an annual day to create awareness regarding the plight of Native Residential / Indian Boarding Schools in Canada as well as in the United States. This year, September 30th falls on Sunday, thus teachers and individuals are also recognizing September 28th by wearing orange shirts to work or schools.

According to the website, Orange Shirt Day is a legacy of the St. Joseph Mission residential school commemoration event held in Williams Lake, BC, Canada, in the spring of 2013.

#OrangeShirtDay grew out of Phyllis Webstad's story of having her shiny new orange shirt taken away on her first day of school. She never saw the shirt again.

In a video by Webstad, she describes being stripped of her orange shirt that had been a gift from her grandmother. “Today is a day to honor and remember residential school survivors and their families, every child matters,” says Webstad in the video.

The effort has since grown to receive international exposure and recognition.

As cited in the Canadian news site Global News, Canada’s Minister of Indigenous Services Jane Philpott is urging Canadians to wear orange on Sept. 30 as part of Orange Shirt Day.

“All Canadians have a role to play in reconciliation,” said Philpott as well as Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs Minister Carolyn Bennett in a statement.

“On September 30, we encourage everyone to not only wear orange but to also take this opportunity to learn more about the legacy of Indian Residential Schools…”

People have also been taking to social media posting selfies of themselves wearing orange shirts accompanied with the hashtags #OrangeShirtDay and #EveryChildMatters.

Here are some of the recent tweets regarding #OrangeShirtDay.

Tweets from 2018

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Follow Indian Country Today’s associate editor Vincent Schilling (Akwesasne Mohawk) on Twitter - @VinceSchilling and Instagram - @VinceSchilling

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“The color orange has always reminded me of that and how my feelings didn’t matter, how no cared and how I felt I was worth nothing,” reflects Webstad decades later about her experiences at the Indian residential school. “All of us little children were crying and no one cared.” — University Assignment Writing Services