Orange Shirt

National Day for Truth & Reconciliation and Orange Shirt Day both take place on September 30th each year. 

National Day for Truth & Reconciliation was first observed as a federal statutory holiday, on September 30, 2021. The day honours the lost children and survivors of residential schools, their families and communities. Public commemoration of the tragic and painful history and ongoing impacts of residential schools is a vital component of the reconciliation process.

Orange Shirt Day is an event that promotes awareness of Canada’s residential school system and commits to the ongoing process of reconciliation. The date of September 30th was chosen because it represents the time of year Indigenous children were removed from their homes and forced to attend residential schools. The “orange shirt” refers to the new shirt that Phyllis Webstad was given by her grandmother for her first day of school at St. Joseph’s Mission residential school in BC. When Phyllis got to school, they took away her clothes, including her new shirt. To Phyllis, the colour is now a constant reminder of her experiences at residential school.