Orange Shirt Day

We stand united

Every year on September 30th Orange Shirt day pays tribute to residential schools survivors, those that did not make it and the legacy residential schools leave behind.  This day also provides ongoing knowledge and awareness of the impacts it has had on the both the survivors and their extended families. 

Orange Shirt Day began in Williams Lake, BC in 2013 at the St. Joseph Mission residential school commemoration event.   Phyllis Webstad, a survivor herself, told the community her story about how her grandma (also a survivor) had gifted her an orange shirt for her first day of school.  But upon arrival, the shirt was immediately ripped off her body, never to be returned.

Phyllis has never forgotten about that orange shirt.

Phyllis went on to have a child at 13 years old, attended a treatment facility at 27, which lead to her journey of health and healing.  Each survivor has been affected in his or her own way, but for Phyllis, even though she has worked so hard in her self- healing, she still tries to find her self worth on occasion. 

Today, Phyllis travels the country telling her story and raising awareness about the impacts of the residential school system.

Orange Shirt Day occurs every September because it falls around the time of year when children were removed from their family and homes.  These children were forced to attend a residential school that stripped them of everything they knew, including their culture. This day promotes anti-bullying and the anti-racism movement both at work and in schools across Canada.

This is a day that is recognized both nationally and internationally for the ongoing support towards residential school survivors.  It also encourages those crucial conversations of reconciliation between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples and demonstrates to residential school survivors that they matter.  

The residential school era began in the early 1870’s, with the last school closing in 1996. More than 150,000 First Nation, Métis and Inuit children attended these schools. There are an estimated 80,000 survivors living today.

MNBC recognizes Orange Shirt Day on September 30th in support of the 150,000 First Nation, Métis, and Inuit children who’ve been affected, and still are affected by the residential school system.  MNBC encourages you to wear orange on September 30th to show your support, because EVERY CHILD MATTERS.

If you would like more information on Orange shirt day, please feel free to email health@mnbc.ca.