Orange Shirt Day is celebrated every year on September 30th. The holiday is dedicated to the children of indigenous Canadians who were forced to grow up in boarding schools and thus assimilate into society. The event reminds each of us that we must support any ideas and activities against racism and bullying.
The holiday was founded in honor of the mestizo and Inuit children living in Canada. They were taken by force from their parents, given to boarding schools. This state of affairs continued for 50 years – from the beginning to the middle of the 19th century. Boarding schools are a network of Canadian educational institutions that are sponsored by the government. They were created with one goal – to isolate children from their native culture, to make them forget their native language. Boarding schools were built far from the settlements of indigenous peoples.
- It is known for certain that in total about 150 thousand children were sent to boarding schools, where they were subjected to violence, they were poorly fed, and they were not provided with medical care.
- In 2013, Phyllis Westbud shared her story of being taken to a boarding school at the age of six. A few days before this event, the grandmother gave her granddaughter a yellow shirt, but she was taken away in the boarding school.
- During the reign of Elizabeth, only nobles could afford orange.
- Today, orange is used to warn of danger.
How to celebrate
As a sign of solidarity, wear orange clothes, stand up for those who went through a difficult path in a boarding school, but survived. Share the holiday on social media and encourage people to join your initiative to wear something orange. Explore history to learn more about the hardships faced by indigenous children in Canada. Be kind to the people around you and let this tradition become a way of life for you.
When is Orange Shirt Day in 2022?
Orange Shirt Day is observed on September 30 each year.