Orange Shirt Day is Friday, September 30, also marking the second National Day for Truth and Reconciliation. In 2021, the federal government established this day in response to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Calls to Action #80, to bring awareness of the history and impact of Indian Residential Schools in Canada. It is a commemorative day that honours the children who survived and remembers those who did not.
In respect and observance of the statutory holiday, Municipal facilities will be CLOSED on Friday, September 30, including the Municipal Office, West Nipissing Community & Recreation Centre, and the Sturgeon Falls landfill.
In recognition of the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, the Every Child Matters flag will be flown at the Municipal Office and lights at the West Nipissing Power Generation dam will be illuminated in orange, as a symbol of commemoration.
Orange Shirt Day
Orange Shirt Day relates to the story of Phyllis Webstad from the Stswecem’c Xgat’tem First Nation. Phyllis, a former residential school student, had her orange shirt taken away on her first day at residential school. The orange shirt has become a symbol of remembrance of all Indigenous children who were removed from their families to attend a residential school.
On Friday, September 30, we encourage everyone to wear an orange shirt to honour residential school survivors and to remember the children who never made it home.
When buying an orange shirt, it’s important to support an Indigenous creator or shop, or a vendor who donates the proceeds to an Indigenous cause or organization.
Here are a few places where you can purchase a shirt locally:
- Gen7 Fuel / Convenience Store (1 Jocko Point Rd, Yellek, ON, P1B 8G5)
- Eagles Nest (2 Migizii Miikan, Yellek, ON P1B 8G5)
- Canadian Tire (12011 Hwy 17 East, Sturgeon Falls, ON, P2B 2S7)
- Giant Tiger (across Canada) – 100% of sales are donated to Indspire)
- Green Medicine by the Homeopathic Pair (120 Commanda Cres, North Bay, ON P1B 8G5)
- Wrightway Sportswear (1399 Hammond Street, North Bay, ON P1B 2J2) or order online
Learn and Reflect
Reconciliation is an action. There are many ways to reflect and learn about the legacy and impact of Residential Schools. Here are a few recommendations on how you can honour the day on September 30th.
WATCH AND LISTEN
- The national broadcast, Remembering the Children (will air live at 1 p.m. ET on September 30, on all APTN channels and other national broadcast channels)
- Ted Talk by Starleigh Grass – Reconciliation and Education: Lessons to remember before thinking about, talking about, and teaching about Residential schools and reconciliation.
- Feature Film: Indian Horse (An adaptation of Ojibway writer Richard Wagamese’s award-winning novel)
- The Pass System – An investigative documentary (Proceeds from your rental of the film will be donated to organizations that support Indigenous filmmaking).
- We Were Children Documentary (Also available without ads on Amazon Prime, rent for $2.95 on nfb.ca, buy for $9.99 on Apple TV
READ AND LEARN
Learn about the stories of the First Nations, Inuit, and Métis peoples and the ongoing legacy of Indian Residential Schools in Canada.
- Familiarize yourself with the 94 Calls to Action in the Truth and Reconciliation Commission Report
- Orange Shirt Society
- National Centre for Truth & Reconciliation
- Truth and Reconciliation in Ontario
- 21 Things You May Not Have Know About the Indian Act by Bob Joseph
Read a book written by an Indigenous author about residential schools.
Books for adults:
- The Inconvenient Indian, by Thomas King
- Indian Horse, by Richard Wangamese
- They Called Me Number One, by Bev Sellars
- Braiding Sweetgrass, by Robin Wall Kimmerer
- Five Little Indians, by Michelle Good
- Clearing The Plains, by JamesDaschuk
- The Education of Augie Merast, by Joseph Auguste Merasty
- Up Ghost River, by Edmund Metatawabin
- Dear Canada: These Are My Words: The Residential School Diary of Violet Pesheens, by Ruby Slipperjack
- My name is Seepeetza, by Shirley Sterling
For immediate support
Support is available if you, or someone you know, needs help or support.
The Residential Schools Crisis Line: 1-866-925-4419 – Available 24 hours a day for anyone experiencing pain or distress as a result of their Residential school experience.
Books for children:
- Shi-shi-etko, by Nicola Campbell (Ages 4-10)
- Shin-chi’s Canoe, by Nicola Campbell (Ages 4-10)
- Arctic Stories, by Michael Kusugak (Ages 4-10)
- Kookum’s Red Shoes, by Peter Eyvindson (Ages 4-10)
- Phyllis’s Orange Shirt, by Phyllis Webstad (Age 4-10)
- Not My Girl, by Christy Jordan-Fenton & Margaret-Olemaun Pokiak-Fenton (Age 4-10)
- The Train, by Jodie Callaghan (Age 4-10)
- The Boy Who Walked Backwards, by Ben Sures (Age 4-10)
- When We Were Alone, by David A. Robertson (Age 4-10)
- I Am Not a Number, by Jenny Kay Dupuis & Kathy Kacer (Age 9-12)
- Fatty Legs: A True Story, by Christy Jordan-Fenton and Margaret Pokiak-Fenton (Ages 9-12)
- A Stranger at Home: A True Story, by Christy Jordan-Fenton and Margaret Pokiak-Fenton (Ages 9-12)
- No Time to Say Goodbye: Children’s Stories of Kuper Island Residential School, by Sylvia Olsen (Ages 9-12)
- As long as the Rivers Flow, by Larry Loyie (Ages 9-12)
- My Name is Seepeetza, by Shirley Sterling (Ages 9-12)
- We feel good out here = Zhik gwaa’an, nakhwatthaiitat qwiinzii (The Land is Our Storybook), by Julie-Ann André and Mindy Willett (Ages 9-12)
- Goodbye Buffalo Bay, by Larry Loyie (Ages 9-12)
- Speaking Our Truth: A Journey of Reconciliation, by Monique Gray Smith (Ages 9-12)
- Sugar Falls, by David A. Robertson (Ages 13 and up)
- Good for Nothing, by Michel Noel (Ages 13 and up)
- Broken Circle, by Theodore Fontaine (Ages 13 and up)