Orange Shirt Day is a day to remember residential school survivors and their families in the spirit of reconciliation.
At a reunion of former students of the St. Joseph Mission in Williams Lake, B.C., Phyllis (Jack) Webstad told her story of how as a six year old on her first day at the Mission residential school her new "shiny orange shirt" bought by her Grandmother was taken away, never to be returned. That shirt colour came to symbolize for Phyllis the hardships brought by the residential school system and the lesson that she did not matter. Countering that experience Orange Shirt Day became a way to honour and remember residential school survivors and their families and to spread the message that all children matter.
Today, Orange Shirt Day is an opportunity to do anti-racism work at the time of year when children re-enter school. It is also an opportunity for First Nations, local governments, schools and communities across Canada to come together in a spirit of reconciliation and hope for future generations.