About Orange Shirt Day
In May 2013, inspired by the accounts of residential school survivor Phyllis Webstad, the orange shirt was presented as a symbol of Indigenous People’s suffering caused by the residential school system. September 30th became Orange Shirt Day, a grassroots, Indigenous-led day to recognize the history of residential schools in Canada, honour the children who were lost, and witness the journey of the survivors.
About this year’s shirt
This year’s Orange Shirt Day shirt was designed by Geraldine Catalbas, a Grade 11 student from Ponoka, Alta. The shirt features shoe laces, untied and flowing into an eagle, signifying the freedom of residential school students “up in the heaven and their fight through difficult times.”
To Geraldine, Orange Shirt Day means “the remembrance of children who lost their lives in residential schools and how it’s important to recognize the impacts of their deaths and the survivors’ triumph through the actions of the past and making up for the mistakes made.”
How to donate
As the shirts have already been paid for by the organization, you are not required to donate to receive one. However, if you find yourself able, we recommend donating an amount you are comfortable with to the Indian Residential School Survivor’s Society (IRSSS), which provides essential services to Residential School Survivors, their families, and those dealing with intergenerational traumas. You will be issued a tax receipt for your donation. Please only do this if you are able, and whatever amount you can or feel comfortable with. If you are looking for a suggested amount, you may consider what you would normally pay for a printed t-shirt. You can donate directly to IRSSS through CanadaHelps.
Other ways to donate
You may also consider making a donation to an Indigenous organization in your community. Just a few examples of Indigenous organizations supporting people in our communities include:
North Fraser – Fraser River Indigenous Society
Prince George – Prince George Native Friendship Centre
South Fraser – University of the Fraser Valley Indigenous Student Centre
Vancouver – Kílala Lelum Urban Indigenous Health and Healing Cooperative
Whitehorse – Yukon Aboriginal Women’s Council