Orange Shirt Day : Honour Residential School Survivors

The government recently passed legislation to make September 30th a federal statutory holiday called the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation. This day provides an opportunity for Canadians to recognize and commemorate the legacy of residential schools.

Suggestions for things to do on Truth and Reconciliation Day

Wear Orange

The story behind Orange Shirt Day began in fall 1973.

Six-year-old Phyllis Webstad of Stswecem’c Xgat’tem First Nation was excited for her first day of school. Wearing a brand-new orange shirt from her grandmother, she entered into the St. Joseph Mission Residential School just outside of Williams Lake, B.C.

Shortly after her arrival to the school, she was stripped her of her orange shirt in exchange for the school’s uniform.

The orange shirt taken from Phyllis is symbolic of her experience as well as the experiences of more than 150,000 Indigenous children who had their cultures, identities, and languages stripped from them upon their first days at school.

Wearing orange on this day is a collective commitment to reconciliation, guided by the spirit of healing. Phyllis started the Orange Shirt Society to raise awareness about Residential Schools, the impact of intergenerational trauma on younger generations, and to send this important message: Every Child Matters.

Attend an Event

Truth and Reconciliation Week is a virtual event organized by the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation which will run from Sept. 27 to Oct. 1. It will provide historical workshops and activities, as well as cultural performances by First Nations, Métis, and Inuit artists.

People can register for the virtual event here.

Arts and Media

Support the work of Indigenous artisans and their traditional crafts.

How to watch and listen to National Day for Truth and Reconciliation on CBC

Learn the History

This is a perfect opportunity for Canadians to learn more about Indigenous history and culture.

Share authentic Indigenous stories with your children.

Explore the Residential School Timeline.

To learn more about the history of the residential school system, the website for the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation has a collection of teaching resources for children.

How To Talk To Kids About The National Day For Truth And Reconciliation | Learning (

Explore other resources about Residential Schools, such as:
Indian Horse
They Came for Us
Up Ghost River by Alexandra Shimo and Edmund Matatawabin
They Call Me Number One by Bev Sellars
Dear Canada: These are My Words by Ruby Slipperjack

Mattawa Museum will be open on Truth and Reconciliation Day.

We invite you to come and explore local indigenous history.