Orange Shirt Day
- Social Justice & Advocacy
As the trees turn from green to shades of orange, children return to school and many parents are wrapped with anxiety over what the fall will bring. The health and well-being of the little ones in our communities are ever at the centre of our hearts and prayers.
For many Indigenous families, September can be a very painful time, recalling memories of family separation, abduction and legally enforced attendance at Indian Residential School or Indian Day School. Since the 1600s, millions of Indigenous children were forced to attend Indian Residential School, Day School and other shadow Church-run institutions, including Indian Hospitals and group homes. The outcomes of these institutions were devastating, and many children did not survive. As we know well, this history is not of the distant past – seven of the last Indian Residential Schools closed down between 1995-1998.
In 2013, Phyllis Webstad, Northern Secwpemc (Shuswap) grandmother, community leader and Residential School Survivor, started the Orange Shirt Day movement to honour Survivors and their stories. To raise awareness and in honour of Phyllis, Survivors, intergenerational Survivors and those who died and did not return home, we wear orange on Sept. 30. For more about Phyllis Webstad’s story and to listen to her recordings, visit: www.orangeshirtday.org.
Prayer on Orange Shirt Day
For a solemn observation of Orange Shirt Day and the ongoing impacts of intergenerational trauma in the wake of the devastating loss of life at James Smith Cree Nation, you may join us by praying: “Prayer for those who did not return home from Residential School and for all missing and murdered Indigenous people.” English, Mandarin, Japanese, Cantonese and Tamil translations of this prayer can be found here. These translations were generously created by the Bishop’s Collaborative for Right Relations Translation for Decolonization working group.
Buying an orange shirt
If you would like to purchase an orange shirt in honour of Orange Shirt Day, we encourage you to shop from an Indigenous owned and operated business, such as Native Arts Society. Native Arts Society gallery and studio is run by intergenerational Survivors of Residential School, and in addition to hand-printing t-shirts and running educational events on the impacts of colonization, they offer free studio space and art supplies to Indigenous artists, especially those who are houseless or incarcerated.
Consider taking up a special collection on a Sunday close to Orange Shirt Day and donate it to an Indigenous organization such as Native Arts Society, Toronto Urban Native Ministry, or the Woodland Cultural Centre.
- Name: The Rev. Leigh Kern
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Date: Sep 30, 2022
- Time: -