Orange Shirt Day

Today is Orange Shirt Day, the day for remembering Indigenous children who died in residential schools and honouring the survivors.

It was organized by grassroots Indigenous activists for many years before it was officially adopted as the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation.

This photo is of Phyllis Webstad, one of the founders of Orange Shirt Day. When she was sent to residential school as a child, her grandma gave her a beautiful orange shirt, and the school took it from her on the first day. She never saw it again.

Phyllis Webstad

These schools stripped Indigenous children of their culture, their language, their names, and often prevented them from going home to their families. When they did go home, they couldn’t converse with their families any more, as the survivors only spoke English and many members of their families only spoke Indigenous languages.

Children were beaten, sexually abused, severely underfed, and experimented on in these schools. The experiments were run by nutrition scientists trying to figure out how much food children need. Children were deliberately malnourished to provide this data. The results are the basis of the Canadian food guide. (The research that discovered these atrocities was done by Ian Mosby.)

All the testimony of survivors is available from the report of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.

This is why my profile pic on Instagram and Twitter is an orange shirt all year round.

If you don’t know about this, please educate yourself and your kids.

And donate to the Indian Residential School Survivors Society, the First Nations Child and Family Caring Society (via Canada Helps), and the Woodland Cultural Centre’s Save the Evidence campaign.

Follow @spiritbearandfriends and @woodlandculturalcentre on Instagram. On Twitter, they’re @FNCaringSociety and @woodlandcc.

And campaign for land back. The residential schools were a way to hold Indigenous kids hostage so that Indigenous people wouldn’t rebel against the theft of their lands.

For more information, check out the Indigenous Peoples page on the inclusive Wicca website.

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  1. Pingback: Orange Shirt Day – Changing Paths

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