Orange Shirt Day

Orange Shirt Day is a commemoration every year on September 30th for the survivors of Residential Schools and their families, as well as a time for settlers to reflect on how relationships with Indigenous peoples might be improved. Founded by Phyllis Webstad, a survivor from the Stswecem’c Xgat’tem First Nation, it remembers that Phyllis wanted to bring an orange shirt with her to the Mission School but was not allowed to do so as it was not permitted with the uniform.

As a library serving pre-service teachers, we want to encourage everyone to reflect on the responsibilities of educators on Turtle Island to support and empower Indigenous students in their cultural, linguistic and social achievements. In support of this, we wish to highlight some materials from our collection that may help with this reflection process and that educators may wish to bring into their classrooms or to their communities.

The cover of Orange Shirt Story by Phyllis WebstadThe Orange Shirt Story by Phyllis Webstad details the story of the author’s experiences and tells the story of the Orange Shirt from her perspective. When Phyllis arrived at Residential School, she was not allowed to wear her favourite orange shirt and it was taken away from her. This is the story of the events that inspired Orange Shirt Day. Teachers may also find lesson plans for the Orange Shirt Story from the British Columbia Teachers’ Federation here.

The cover of Residential Schools by Larry LoyieResidential schools : with the words and images of survivors by Larry Loyie with Wayne K. Spear, Constance Brissenden is a collection of accounts and images by survivors of Residential Schools, in their own words. Featuring the words and lives of 125 survivors, this resource seeks to create a dialogue with survivors about their experiences, healing and the future of Indigenous Education.

Residential schools : truth and reconciliation in Canada (educator’s package) Archival photograph of Indigenous students inside a Residential School classroomfrom McIntyre Media is a package of videos including an address to educators from Justice Murray Sinclair, Marie Wilson and former Prime Minister Paul Martin. It is meant as a call to action and reflection for educators as they move along the journey towards learning and relationship with Indigenous peoples. This video package is only accessible to OISE and UofT students, faculty and staff.

The cover of Finding my Talk by Agnes GrantFinding my talk : how fourteen Native women reclaimed their lives after residential school edited and collected by Agnes Grant is a collection of Indigenous women’s experiences as they reflect on surviving Residential Schools and their lives afterwards. It focuses on how these Indigenous women resisted settler colonialism and heteropatriarchy to begin their own journeys towards healing and culture. 

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