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About Orange Shirt Day

Every Child Matters

A symbol of hope and reconciliation

Orange Shirt Day is the legacy of the  St. Joseph Mission (SJM) Residential School (1891-1981) Commemoration Project and Reunion events that took place in Williams Lake, BC, Canada, in May 2013.


Phyllis (Jack) Webstad, a former student, shared her story of how the new orange shirt her grandmother bought her was taken away from her on her first day of residential school when she was six years old. Phyllis's story resonated with other Residential School Survivors and opened the door to the discussion of the harm done to generations of children by residential schools and the healing journey of survivors and their families.


Today, we wear orange in affirmation of our commitment to reconciliation and anti-racism, and the belief that every child matters. 


Written by Phyllis Webstand Illustrated by Brock Nicol

When Phyllis Webstad (nee Jack) turned six, she went to Residential School for the first time. On her first day at school, she wore a shiny orange shirt that her Granny had bought for her, but when she got to the school, it was taken away from her and never returned. This is the true story of Phyllis and her orange shirt. It is also the story of Orange Shirt Day (an important day of remembrance for First Nations and non-First Nations Canadians). Recommended for ages 4-6.


Adapted for ages 4-6.

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Edited and Approved by Phyllis Webstand & Joan Sorley

This book is designed as a textbook for students in Grades 5 and older, but it is an excellent resource for parents and the general public as well.  The publisher, Medicine Wheel Education, also has an optional companion teacher resource for those teachers looking for more information about how to use the book with their students.

15% of the book proceeds go to the Orange Shirt Society to help support their work.

Orange Shirt Day Resources

Orange Shirt Society:

Teacher Resources Provided by the Orange Shirt Society in English and French 

First Nations Education Steering Committee:

The Indian Residential Schools and Reconciliation Teacher Resource Guides for grades 5, 10 and 11/12 were developed by the First Nations Education Steering Committee and the First Nations Schools Association. They are our response to the call by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada for education bodies to develop age-appropriate educational materials about Indian residential schools.

Historica Canada:

This education guide aims to raise awareness of the history of residential schools in Canada and increase understanding of the important role education plays in the reconciliation process. 

The guide offers classroom activities you can use to explore this difficult topic. The guide offers standalone activities, as well as activities that connect to the Residential Schools Podcast Series and the videos created to accompany this guide. 

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Learn more about Orange Shirt Day

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