Good day! On September 30th, it is Orange Shirt Day. In honour of this day, here is my newest book recommendations based on this event, but first, here’s a little history about Orange Shirt Day.
What is Orange Shirt Day?
Orange Shirt Day is an event that started in 2013. Its purpose is to educate people and promote awareness about the Indian residential school system and the impact this system had on Indigenous communities for more than a century in Canada. It is held annually on September 30 in Canadian communities with students and staff being encouraged to wear an orange shirt to school that day.
History of Orange Shirt Day
Orange Shirt Day began in 2013 as a result of residential school survivor Phyllis Jack Webstad discussing her experience when she arrived at a residential school. Webstad shared her story at the St. Joseph Mission (SJM) residential school commemoration event held in Williams Lake, British Columbia, Canada, in the spring of 2013. On her first day at a residential school, Phyllis had her new orange shirt taken away from her. Phyllis’ experience is used today to teach students about residential schools and their assimilation practices.
In addition to simply wearing an orange shirt on September 30, this annual event encourages Canadians to learn about the history of residential schools. Many communities have held memorial walks, film screenings, and public lectures to raise awareness about Indigenous history. Additionally, school boards across Canada have begun to use this event to teach children about residential schools.
Why September 30th?
The date of September 30 was chosen for the annual event because it is the time of year in which Indigenous children were historically taken from their homes to residential schools.
In 2018, the department of Canadian Heritage and Multiculturalism announced it was considering making a statutory holiday to honour the legacy of residential schools, and September 30 was one of the dates being considered.
Orange Shirt Day. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Orange_Shirt_Day. Wikipedia. Retrieved September 9th, 2019.
Here’s a great video to show elementary school students. Phyllis Webstad presents her memories of Residential schools and the meaning of Orange Shirt Day.
Phyllis Webstad Orange Shirt Day Presentation. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E3vUqr01kAk. Youtube. Retrieved September 9th, 2019.
1. The Orange Shirt Story: The True Story of Orange Shirt Day by Phyllis Webstad
2. Phyllis’ Orange Shirt by Phyllis Webstad
3. Stolen Words by Melanie Florence
4. When We Were Alone by David A. Robertson
5. When I Was Eight by
6. Not My Girl by
7. I Am Not a Number by
8. Shi-shi-etko by Nicola I. Campbell
Founder of Mind Growth Education