The Significance of Orange Shirt Day

September 29, 2017

Orange shirt day is an important event that occurs across the country and effects all Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples in one way or another. It signifies the emotional, mental and physical trauma that First Nations, Inuit and Metis endured during the residential school era. Although, the purpose of this day isn’t to represent pain, it not only allows us to never forget what oppression can do to a people but it also shows Indigenous peoples persevering over, colonialism, racism and cultural genocide – it represents Indigenous peoples acknowledging their history, but in a way that allows participation, peace and solidarity amongst Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples.

Orange Shirt Day takes place on September 30th every year and asks Canadians to participate by also wearing orange on that day. The purpose of wearing orange is to show a unified step towards reconciliation and building stronger relationships between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples. This day is especially important for Indigenous youth because the residential school systems not only effected our parents, grandparents, and those before us, but also continues to affect us and the newer generations because of intergenerational trauma and reflection.

We have to remember our history and do our part in educating others if we want to continue positive growth towards reconciliation, treat understanding, and nation-to-nation relations.

If you would like more information on Orange Shirt Day and its origin follow this link:

Deliah Bernard
Indigenous Peoples’ Commission
Vice Chair Indigenous Youth