Orange Shirt Day


National Day for Truth & Reconciliation, known as Orange Shirt Day is on Monday, September 30, 2024

The annual Orange Shirt Day opens the door to conversations on all aspects of Residential Schools and the legacy they have left behind. On September 30, wear orange in support of bringing awareness to residential schools, their legacy, and Survivors. 

Voices of Resilience

Join Indigenous Student Services for an impactful speaking engagement featuring two members of the Survivors Secretariat, Diane Hill and Darlene Laforme. Diane and Darlene will share personal stories, reflections, and thoughts on the significance of the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation.

Wednesday, September 27, 2023
11:30 am – 12:30 pm
Fennell Campus, C125

To register, please visit:
For more information on this event, contact:
Abbey Daniel, abbey.daniel [at] (subject: Orange%20Shirt%20Day) (abbey[dot]daniel[at]mohawkcollege[dot]ca)

Learn more

For more information about Orange Shirt Day, residential schools, Survivors, and Intergenerational Survivors:

Website Resources

Video Resources

Phyllis Webstad Orange Shirt Day Presentation

Murray Sinclair – The Truth is Hard, Reconciliation is Harder

Gord Downie’s The Secret Path

Frequently Asked Questions:

Who are Indigenous Peoples/FNMI?

Indigenous Peoples are groups who are the original inhabitants of a particular place. In Canada, this refers to the First Nations, Metis, and Inuit peoples (FNMI). The First Nations and Inuit peoples have lived on these lands for many thousands of years: the Inuit in the far North and Arctic circle; First Nations across Turtle Island – what many call “North America”; the Metis are a group descended from First Nations and early French settlers. Each Nation is distinct and has its own history, beliefs, languages, and civilizations. The First Nations who are original to this place are the Anishinaabe and Haudenosaunee, as well as an historic Nation referred to as the Neutrals.

What is “Residential School”?

In many places, “residential school” would simply mean a school where the students also live, also called a boarding school. In Canada and the United States, however, “residential schools” refer to a system that the government introduced to assimilate Indigenous children by forbidding them from using their original names, languages, cultural practices and ceremonies. Siblings were separated and not allowed to speak to one another. Children were often stolen from their homes or kidnapped off of the street. Children suffered abuse at residential schools, both as punishment as well as an act of cruelty. The education the children received was poor and equipped them to perform only service roles. It also removed their ability to live on the land as their communities had traditionally, to speak the language of their families, and left them feeling like outsiders in their own families and homes. Residential schools in Canada constitute a crime against humanity and meet the definitions of genocide. In 2008 the Canadian government apologized for the over 150 year history of residential schools and for all of the many harms that they caused, beginning their own healing journey.

What is Orange Shirt Day?

Orange Shirt Day is a day where we acknowledge the terrible history and impacts of residential schools in Canada and where we honour the experiences of the children who attended them. It is a day where we show our support for the people who survived residential schools and their families. Orange Shirt Day is observed every year on September 30th at events across Canada.

Why Orange Shirts?

A Survivor of residential schools in British Columbia named Phyllis Webstad shared her memories of her first day at residential school when she was 6 years old: her grandmother had bought her a shiny new orange shirt special for the first day. When Phyllis arrived at the school, the shirt was taken away from her, she was scrubbed and had her long hair cut short. She was given an uncomfortable uniform to wear, and she never saw that orange shirt again. Phyllis said that the colour orange reminded her about how her feelings didn’t matter. The orange shirt represents all of the things that Survivors and Indigenous communities have lost because of residential schools.

Why September 30th?

The day is observed at the end of September. This was the time of year that children were taken from their homes and sent to the school. Occurring at the beginning of the school year, it also allows schools to embrace the message of anti-racism and anti-bullying throughout the school year.

How can we participate or support?

Find an Orange Shirt Day event. There are events at Mohawk College leading up to Orange Shirt Day and engagement day-of. There are also events at schools, community groups, and Indigenous communities across Canada.

  • Learn about residential schools. Find out more about the history of the schools, the experiences of Survivors, and the impact that residential schools have had on Indigenous people and communities.
  • Learn about assimilation and colonization in Canada and understand residential schools as one part of a much bigger systemic problem.
  • Hold space for Survivors and their families, listen to their experiences and honour them.
  • Wear an orange shirt on September 30th, participate in an event, or work with a group to host an event of your own.
  • Raise awareness! Share information about residential schools and Survivors with your friends, family, classes, or social media followers.

Where can I purchase an Orange Shirt in support of Orange Shirt Day?

Orange Shirt Society 
*Partial proceeds will go to the Orange Shirt Society to support awareness activities.

Woodland Cultural Centre
*All proceeds from the sale of these shirts go towards supporting the Save the Evidence campaign.

Purchase your Orange Shirt from an Indigenous-run business or an Indigenous-led organization

Orange Shirt Day Photos


Orange Shirt Day (2019)


Orange Shirt Day (2018)


IESS Staff Orange Shirt Day (2018)

For more information

Email: iess [at] (subject: Orange%20Shirt%20Day) (iess[at]mohawkcollege[dot]ca)