WRDSB recognizes Orange Shirt Day as a way to honour residential school survivors, those who did not survive, and their descendants. It’s just one of the ways we support, educate and reconcile our relationship with Indigenous people.

What is Orange Shirt Day?

Orange Shirt Day is observed September 30 and was first launched in 2013. The origin of Orange Shirt Day is based on Phyllis Webstad’s story of entering an Indian Residential School in 1973 and having her new orange shirt removed from her and replaced with a school uniform. Her experience of having her orange shirt being taken from her is symbolic of all that was taken from Indigenous peoples as a result of Indian Residential Schools and is the reason we wear orange on September 30.

For well over a century, Indian Residential Schools were used as a tool to assimilate Indigenous peoples into the dominant Canadian culture. Established in 1892 by the Canadian government, in partnership with churches, Indigenous children were often moved long distances from their families and lived at the schools. Once at school, Indigenous children were forbidden to speak their languages nor practice their cultures and traditions. Living conditions for students in Indian Residential Schools were often harsh and there was often significant emotional, physical and sexual abuse of the students.

WRDSB Orange Shirt Day Activities

Since September 30 falls on a Saturday in 2017, WRDSB will acknowledge Orange Shirt Day on Friday, September 29, 2017. Please tag images of how you are honouring Orange Shirt Day by mentioning @wrdsb on Twitter or @wr_dsb on Instagram and using the hashtag #IndigenousWRDSB.

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