Every year on Sept. 30, Canadians wear orange to honour survivors of residential schools.
These facilities, which operated from the 1880s to 1996, were an attempt by the government and churches to assimilate First Nations, Inuit and Metis children into Euro-Canadian culture. Essentially, they were designed to “take the Indian out of the child.”
In 1973, six-year-old Phyllis Webstad excitedly wore an orange shirt on her first day of residential school. Unfortunately, the shirt was quickly taken from her and she was told not to speak her language.
At that time, Webstad didn’t understand why she was being treated this way. "What I didn’t have in school is learning about the history [of residential schools]," she told Global News.
Since then, the colour orange has held special significance for Webstad, who launched Orange Shirt Day in 2013 to raise awareness of Canada’s history of residential schools.
This year, kids across the country joined together in support. In these Instagram photos, Canadian kids remind just how important this day truly is.
One year ago, you were just a bump! This orange shirt day we have a new addition to help raise awareness. Thankful for all of the ORANGE blowing up in my feeds. So many amazing people all over the world helping to support the cause. Love you all. Today I'm especially thinking of Emmett Peters❤️ RIP #OrangeShirtDay #EveryChildMatters #Waseteg #WearOrange #IRSSurvivor #SupportACause #Fredericton #Halifax
It was orange shirt day few days ago we wear orange shirts on September 30 for the Residential school! I'm glad we are the first generation to know about this and I'm happy that my papa and gramma are still here with me they are residential school saviour! We can not just 'get over it' it our history that we can't forget. #everychildmatters #orangeshirtday #residentialschool
@lyle4thompson "This is a picture of my girls at the oldest and longest running residential school in Canada, today we wear orange shirts to recognize the harm done to generations of children by the native residential schools. #savetheevidence is a campaign to ensure that this history is never forgotten." ✊🏾 #stillhere #orangeshirtday #reclaimyourpower @woodlandculturalcentre
Yesterday was #OrangeShirtDay in remembrance of residential school children and what they endured. Orange Shirt Day is also about reconciliation and the journey we are travelling in this regard. These little ones and your little ones are involved in this journey too so let's make them part of the conversation. Read my recent column in #PeaceArchNews for more of my thoughts. #linkinprofile
They don't know much about why they are wearing orange today. I was too but didn't get in a pic. One day Lily and I will explore more of what happened together because it's an atrocity of Canadian history that she might not learn about in school. I know I didn't. I didn't come across it until much later in life reading on my own. And I was disturbed! #orangeshirtday #everychildmatters #educate
We had fun with #OrangeShirtDay yesterday to honour our Indian Residential School Survivors & to remember those we lost. I'm grateful that my son gets to be raised by his parents, with unconditional love. Im grateful he gets to grow up learning his culture, his language, & being proud to be Mi'kmaq/Maliseet. As a parent, I'm grateful that I get to help destroy the intergenerational effects of culture genocide by making sure these things happen. #EveryChildMatters
Thinking about my little babies back home as I travel to join and show support in standing rock this weekend #orangeshirtday #everychildmatters The future is our children what are we going to leave them if we do not protect what we have now. ✌🏼️n💗. 🌎 do it for the past and the ones who came before us and all they endured and I do it for the future and ones who come after us. Good night. #peace #love #savemotherearth
Orange Shirt Day. 💔 #everychildmatters www.orangeshirtday.org Pretty stoked to see Calgary schools participate in this awareness campaign. I'm so glad they're finally teaching the truth about Canada's dark history of residential schools & the horrific trauma that thousands of children endured. I'm glad my kids won't grow up ignorant as I did. Acknowledgment is the first step in reparations. Let's keep going, keep learning, keep healing.💛#orangeshirtday