In honour of ETFO’s endorsement to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) of Canada’s Calls to Action, ETFO is committed to moving forward into reconciliation and commemorates the survivors of the residential school system by recognizing the Orange Shirt Day - Every Child Matters Campaign on September 30, 2017.
In 1973 six-year old Phyllis Webstad was gifted a brand new orange shirt from her grandmother and wore it to the residential (mission) school she attended in British Columbia. Upon her arrival, school officials removed and discarded the shirt from her and replaced it with a school uniform. This greatly impacted the mental and emotional well-being of Webstad and symbolized that "her feelings never mattered." September 30 was chosen as the date to commemorate all the children that attended residential schools as it was also the time of year that children had to leave their homes and communities to attend the schools. This annual campaign began in 2013 after Webstad shared this experience at a reunion with other survivors.
Visit the Working Effectively with Indigenous Peoples blog for more information at https://www.ictinc.ca/blog/what-is-orange-shirt-day.
Canada’s legacy is a part of our collective history and our journey into reconciliation is also a demonstration of our commitment. It’s important that we support each other in our learning journey and that ETFO provide opportunities and resources for members to be culturally inclusive educators, including teaching about the residential school system.
The Orange Shirt Day campaign provides all Canadians with an opportunity to participate in a collective act of reconciliation.
ETFO has First Nation, Métis and Inuit (FNMI) education resources and professional learning opportunities for members, including learning that covers residential schools and reconciliation. Check out our online resources found on ETFO’s Spirit Horse website at www.spirithorse.ca. Subscribe to our eNewsletter to receive information about upcoming FNMI learning opportunities. The Manitoba Teachers' Society has lesson plans available on their website.
As the campaign embraces the phrase “Every Child Matters” we hope that members will support this campaign and wear orange or participate in a school commemoration activity. September 30th falls on a Saturday this year, so your Orange Shirt Day could take place either on Friday, September 29th or Monday, October 2nd.