Honour Orange Shirt Day and National Day for Truth and Reconciliation by:
- Wearing Orange
- Orange Day T-shirts for adults and youth are available to purchase at cost from Kitsilano Neighbourhood House, Monday-Friday 9am-5pm
- Attending National Day for Truth and Reconciliation events
- See the list of events in our community and across Vancouver
- Reading the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s 94 Calls to Action
- Learning about the Indigenous history and Indian Residential School System
- Taking time to reflect on the devastating and ongoing impacts of colonization
What is Orange Shirt Day and National Day for Truth and Reconciliation?
Orange Shirt Day is an Indigenous-led grassroots movement that started in 2013, with the goal to raise awareness of the individual, family and community inter-generational impacts of residential schools. The movement is inspired by Phyllis’ Webstad’s story.
Phyllis Webstad, Northern Secwpemc (Shuswap) from the Stswecem’c Xgat’tem First Nation (Canoe Creek Indian Band) was six years old when she entered the St. Joseph Mission Residential School, outside of Williams Lake, BC in 1973. Young Phyllis was wearing a brand new orange shirt, which she loved dearly, for her first day of school. However, the Mission staff quickly stripped her of her new shirt and replaced it with the school’s uniform. Her story came to symbolize the harms that were perpetuated against Indigenous peoples through the residential school system and the orange shirt became a symbol of the stripping away of culture, freedom and self-esteem experienced by Indigenous children over generations.
What are Residential Schools?
Indian Residential Schools operated across Canada between 1831 and 1996 and will forever remain one of the country’s most shameful legacies. These church-run, government-funded institutions took Indigenous children against their will and subjected them to abuse, neglect, and dangerous living conditions in the name of assimilation into white European culture and religion—what colonizers considered so-called mainstream Canadian culture. The children were forced to assimilate into white culture and were punished for speaking their languages, dressing in a traditional way, or practicing traditional ceremony. Children suffered multiple forms of abuse, were used as hard labourers and were often left cold and hungry. More than 150,000 children were forced to attend residential schools in Canada. Many never returned.
In its comprehensive 2015 report, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada declares “establishment and operation of residential schools were a central element of this policy, which can best be described as “cultural genocide.'”
What is Truth and Reconciliation?
Truth and Reconciliation is about Canada as a nation acknowledging and coming to terms with its treatment of, and ongoing relationship with Indigenous people of this land.
The term has come to describe attempts made by individuals and institutions to raise awareness about colonization and its ongoing effects on Indigenous peoples. To learn about our true history, and acknowledge the horrific wrongs of our past. To many it means accountability and recognition, and the actions taken to make things right.
Reconciliation also refers to efforts made to address the harms caused by various policies and programs of colonization, such as residential schools. The Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada’s Calls to Actions provide clear directions for how the government of Canada and other institutions and organizations can take accountability and shift their relationship with Indigenous people to a culture of respect, reciprocity, and understanding.
Orange Shirt Day Items Available for Purchase
(at cost) supporting the Native Northwest Reconciliation Fund and Orange Shirt Society
- Orange T-Shirt from Native Northwest Art ……….$12.50
- Wristbands from Native Northwest Art ……….$2.50
- “The Orange Shirt Story” by Phyllis Webstad ……….$20
- “Beyond the Orange Shirt Story” by Phyllis Webstad ……….$20
- “With Our Orange Hearts” by Phyllis Webstad and Emily Kewageshig ……….$12
- “Phyllis’s Orange Shirt” by Phyllis Webstad ……….$12
- “Orange Shirt Day: September 30” by Orange Shirt Society ………..$35
National Day for Truth and Reconciliation Events
The museum will?be offering complimentary admission to anyone wearing an orange shirt and will accept donations on behalf of the Indian Residential School Survivors Society to recognize?the impact of residential schools.?
When: Sept. 30, 10 a.m.
Where: 1100 Chestnut St.
Truth and Reconciliation Day: Workshop with Shaina Stephens at Museum of Vancouver
Multi-media artist Shaina Stephens will lead an open conversation about all aspects of residential schools while supporting you to make your own Orange Shirt using stencils, paint, and more. Bring your stories, ready ears, and ready hands. Cost: $85
When: September 30, 11:00am – 3:00pm,
Where: 1100 Chestnut Street.
National Day for Truth & Reconciliation with Arts Umbrella
All Arts Umbrella students, families, and friends are invited and encouraged to join us for a meaningful day of reflection and education. Activities and talks will be age-appropriate and led by Indigenous artists and knowledge keepers.
Pay-What-You-Can, suggested donation of $5 for each event
When: September 30, 10:00am – 3:00pm,
Where: Granville Island, 1400 Johnston St.
Indigenous Movie Night at Vancouver Black Library
Vancouver Black Library?is hosting an?event to highlight Indigenous books and?films and to educate on Turtle Island’s history of colonialism and?the impact of residential schools?on Indigenous peoples. Indigenous attendees will receive a small gift too.
When: Sept. 30, 11 a.m.-5 p.m.
Where: Vancouver Black Library – 72-268 Keefer St.
Truth and Reconciliation Day – Musqueam Community Centre
This gathering will?bring together Musqueam and Vancouver communities to?commemorate Orange Shirt Day?and the second annual National Day for Truth and Reconciliation Day. Musqueam will also host a special ceremony that will mark the new name of Trutch Street.
When: Sept. 30, 1 p.m.
Where: ?6735 Salish Dr.
National Truth and Reconciliation Day Community Walk – Mount Pleasant
This gathering is?a walk?in solidarity with Indigenous peoples that starts at the Mount Pleasant Neighbourhood House and?ends at a community?Orange Shirt Day event?at Trout Lake.?
When: Sept. 30, noon
Where: Mount Pleasant Neighbourhood House – 800 E Broadway
Intergenerational March – UBC
This march aims?to educate participants and support?Indigenous peoples. Those attending will hear from elders and?members of the?Indian Residential School Survivors Society, see a performance from Tastsu Stalqya (Coastal Wolf Pack), and purchase food, t-shirts, and Orange Shirt Day books.
When: Sept. 20,?11 a.m.-2:30 p.m.
Where:?1985 Learners’ Walk
Orange Shirt Day: Honouring the Children at Oppenheimer Park
There will be?a free barbeque, bouncy castles, crafts and giveaways, and rap battles to honour Indigenous peoples and survivors of residential schools. The dress code is an orange shirt.?
When: Sept. 30, noon
Where: 400 Powell St.
This gathering will?see a performance?by an?Indigenous women drum group, storytelling by elders, an Indigenous Plant Walk, and tea with snacks.?
When: Sept. 30, 2 p.m.
Where:?700 Templeton Dr.
This concert will?commemorate National Truth and Reconciliation Day with performances by Aboriginal and Canadian Chinese artists together.?
When: Sept. 30, 7:30-9:30 p.m.
Where: 7373 MacPherson Ave, Burnaby
This gathering starts?with a walk, meeting either outside of the Vancouver Aboriginal Community Policing Centre or Strathcona Community Centre, to Grandview Park. There, the event opens with a ceremony and will feature a drum circle, crafting, sharing, and food.
When: Sept. 30, 9 a.m.-2 p.m.
Where: Meet at?1719 Franklin St or?601 Keefer St; walk to Grandview Park – 1657 Charles St.
This gathering will?honour those who survived?residential school?and remember those who didn’t, raising awareness about the lasting impact of residential schools on Indigenous peoples.
When: Sept. 30, 1-4 p.m.
Where: Trout Lake Community Centre – 3360 Victoria Dr.