The intergenerational march to commemorate Orange Shirt Day aims to be educational and supportive of the Indigenous community on campus and beyond. To gain understanding about the gathering, we encourage you to engage with the following resources.
About Orange Shirt Day
Orange Shirt Day (OSD) is annually commemorated on September 30th. The story of the day centers around the experience of Phyllis (Jack) Webstad who attended the Mission Indian Residential School. Read more about her story at orangeshirtday.org. For many years, OSD and its call for justice, “Every Child Matters” has been commemorated by Canadians to honour Indian Residential School survivors, their families and the broader Indigenous community who still bear the scars from this legacy of harm. The Truth and Reconciliation Commission has labeled the policies that begot the Residential school system a cultural genocide. The schools were run by Canada and the churches, over sixty percent by the Catholic church. An estimated 150,000 Indigenous children were, in some cases, forcibly removed from their homes by the RCMP to attend these schools between the 1870’s and 1990’s. The last Indian Residential school closed in 1996.
Read Pope Francis’ apology to Indigenous Canadians for the Catholic church's role in Indian Residential schools. View the former Prime Minister Harper’s apology and other churches’ apologies. In 2021, the Federal government designated September 30th as National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, and the BC Provincial government designated it a statutory holiday for public sector employees.
Past Orange Shirt Days
In these articles, you will hear from Dana-Lyn Mackenzie, Senior Manager EDI and Indigeneity for the Faculties of Applied Science and Land and Food Systems, as she recounts the Intergenerational March to Commemorate Orange Shirt Day. Dana-Lyn is a member of the Hwlitsum First Nation, based in Canoe Pass, BC. She is a driving force behind the Intergenerational March to Commemorate Orange Shirt Day, along with her co-organizer Danilo Caron. Danilo recieved his BASc in Civil Engineering, and now, he is pursuing his PhD in Civil Engineering here at UBC. Danilo grew up in Kamloops, and he is a member of the Sagamok Anishnawbek First Nation.
Engaging with Indian Residential School histories and legacies can lead to emotional reactions and (unexpectedly) difficult thoughts and feelings. Sometimes these can surface hours, days, or weeks later. This is perfectly normal. If you find yourself feeling overwhelmed, it is important to respect your needs and to be kind to yourself.