Hundreds of staff and students at schools across northeastern Ontario will wear orange Monday, September 30.
Orange Shirt Day recognizes and educates people about the effects and intergenerational impacts on First Nation, Métis, and Inuit children in Canada caused by the residential school system. The focus of the event is that every child matters.
"This important and significant gesture will bring us together in the spirit of reconciliation," says Rainbow District School Board Director of Education Norm Blaseg. "Staff is also welcome to open up or continue the conversation about residential schools with students."
He adds: "Participation in Orange Shirt Day demonstrates our collective commitment to building an ongoing understanding. We invite everyone to wear orange to show students that every child matters."
Orange Shirt Day was started in 2013 in British Columbia by the St. Joseph Mission Residential School Commemoration Project and was inspired by former student Phyllis (Jack) Webstad, who told her story of her first day at residential school when her shiny, new orange shirt, bought by her grandmother, was taken from her as a six-year-old girl.
"When I got to the Mission, they stripped me, and took away my clothes, including the orange shirt! I never wore it again. I didn’t understand why they wouldn’t give it back to me, it was mine! The color orange has always reminded me of that and how my feelings didn’t matter, how no one cared and how I felt like I was worth nothing. All of us little children were crying and no one cared," said Webstad on the offiicial event website.
CTV News will have more on Orange Shirt Day events happening around the region.