Indigenous » National Day for Truth & Reconciliation: Orange Shirt Day​

National Day for Truth & Reconciliation: Orange Shirt Day​

every child mattersThursday September 30th, traditionally recognized as Orange Shirt Day, has been legislated by the Government of Canada as National Day for Truth & Reconciliation. This federal statutory holiday was created to ensure that the history of the residential schools is not forgotten and the ongoing legacy in our communities is honoured. Similar to Orange Shirt Day, this is an opportunity to create meaningful discussion about the effects of residential schools and the legacy they have left behind. It is also an opportunity for Canadians to create meaningful dialogue and participate in building bridges with each other for reconciliation. This may present itself as a day of quiet reflection and/or a day of learning and sharing. 
Kina go Binoojii’ag Gch nendaagoziwag
Every Child Matters
Chaque Enfant Compte
Algoma District School Board Participation:
We will take time to honour this special day and all it stands for with many schools beginning the day with a Morning Land Acknowledgement and a moment of silence.  Schools and other board buildings will fly their flags at half-mast for the week. We are encouraging students and staff, especially those in Grade 5 to 12, to access virtual presentations being offered all week by the National Centre for Truth & Reconciliation.  On a local level, we have a virtual presentation from Dolly Syrette, a grandmother, author, and residential school survivor from Batchewana First Nation available to our students. 
every child matters braceletThis year, orange Every Child Matters bracelets will be provided to ADSB staff and students to commemorate National Day for Truth & Reconciliation.  Donations will be accepted and collected by the schools for the bracelets.   All monies collected will be given to the Children of Shingwauk Alumni Association which represents survivors of the residential schools located in Algoma.  The association supports survivors, their families, and all students in order to preserve culture and traditions of Indigenous people.
We invite our communities to join us by wearing orange on September 30th, or by pausing for a moment to remember the solemnity of the day and as a way to remember the effects of residential schools and the legacy they have left behind.  Only by working together, with Indigenous students, families, communities and partners, can we fully understand our history and our present, and build a positive future for everyone.
Many people across Canada have worn an orange shirt to honour the children who survived the residential schools and remember those who did not. This tradition was inspired by Phyllis Webstad’s experience as described in her book Phyllis’s Orange Shirt  (excerpt below): 
“I went to the Mission for one year. I had just turned 6 years old. We never had very much money, and there was no welfare, but somehow my granny managed to buy me a new outfit to go to the Mission School in. I remember going to Robinson’s store and picking out a shiny orange shirt. It had eyelets and lace, and I felt so pretty in that shirt and excited to be going to school! 
Of course, when I got to the Mission, they stripped me, and took away my clothes, including the orange shirt. I never saw it again, except on other kids. I didn’t understand why they wouldn’t give it back to me, it was mine! 
Since then the colour 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. 
I finally get it, that the feeling of worthlessness and insignificance, ingrained in me from my first day at the mission, affected the way I lived my life for many years...I want my orange shirt back!”
Phyllis (Jack) Webstad, Dog Creek, BC
Barbara is a proud Nishnaabe-kwe, formerly from Wikwemikong Unceded Indian Reserve, who now resides in Garden River First Nation.​
Shirley is the former Chancellor of Algoma University and a Residential School survivor​.
Book Recommendations
"Shin-chi’s Canoe" ​ ​ by Nicola I. Campbell
"Shi-shi-etko" ​​ ​ by Nicola I. Campbell
"When I was Eight" ​ ​ by Christy Jordan-Fenton & Margaret Pokiak-Fenton​
Junior​​ ​
​"Fatty Legs" ​ by Christy Jordan Fenton and Margaret Poliak-Fenton
"A Stranger at Home" ​ by Christy Jordan Fenton and Margaret Poliak-Fenton
​"Kookum’s Red Shoes" ​ by Peter Eyvindson​
​"Secret Path" ​by Gord Downie and Jeff Lemire
"Residential Schools with words and images of Survivors"
​by Larry Loyie
"Goodbye Buffalo Bay"
​by Larry Loyie
Intermediate / Senior​​​ ​
"Wenjack"​ ​by Joseph Boyden
"Indian Horse​" ​by Richard Wagamese​