Orange Shirt Day

A little girl wearing an orange shirt holds a heart that reads "always have hope".

What is Orange Shirt Day?

In the United States and Canada, thousands of Indigenous children were sent, often by force, to residential schools where they were stripped of their languages and their identity.

Each September, we recognize the trauma these children endured and wear orange as a sign of our commitment to fight racism.

September 30 is officially Orange Shirt Day in Canada. But to increase visibility and enable schools and workplaces to participate, many people are wearing orange today as well.

A Little Girl and Her Orange Shirt

A vintage photograph of a young First Nations girl.

Six-year-old Phyllis Jack was thrilled to wear her new orange shirt to her first day of school. But when she arrived, the teachers stripped her and took her clothes... even her beloved shirt.

Years later, Phyllis said: "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."

The orange shirt has become a symbol of the trauma of residential schools - and an opportunity to remind each other that Every Child Matters.

Take Action With Us

You can participate in Orange Shirt Day, too.
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