Honour children who attended residential schools.

Phyllis Webstad with Former Moderator Jordan Cantwell
Phyllis Webstad with Former Moderator Jordan Cantwell
Credit: The United Church of Canada

On September 30, people all across Canada will wear orange shirts to remember and honour Indigenous children who attended Residential Schools. Indigenous Ministries and Justice at The United Church of Canada asks you to participate in Orange Shirt Day!

Why orange? Because of Phyllis Jack Webstad from the Stswecem’c Xgat’tem First Nation, who went to St. Joseph Mission Residential School. On her first day of school, Phyllis wore an orange shirt that her grandmother had given her. It was immediately taken away, and that marked the beginning of Phyllis’s long separation from her family and community, a separation caused by actions of the church and the federal government.

Orange Shirt Day is a time for us all to remember those events, their ongoing impact, and just as importantly, the continuing strength and resilience of Indigenous peoples. Former Healing Programs Coordinator Honarine Scott has written a powerful reflection on this.

What can you do?

1. Mark Orange Shirt Day in your community of faith on September 27

Whether your community of faith is meeting in person or online, please ask people to wear orange for a community picture, whether that’s a safely distanced group photo, a Zoom call screen shot, or a collage. Share your photos on Facebook and Twitter (include the hashtags #OrangeShirtDay, #EveryChildMatters, and #UCCan), or send them to Reconciliation and Indigenous Justice Animator Sara Stratton at  SStratton@united-church.ca  for use on our social media pages.

A Prayer for Orange Shirt Day*

Today we wear orange
to remember and honour all the Indigenous children who went to Residential Schools.

Today we wear orange and we pray
for the Residential School and intergenerational survivors who are still struggling.

Today we wear orange and we are thankful
for those who speak the truth, and who work to shine a light on injustice.

Today we wear orange in the name of compassion and the spirit of truth and reconciliation.

Help us, God, to remember and act on this every day.

Amen.

*This prayer was inspired by Honarine Scott’s Orange Shirt Day blog.

2. Wear an orange shirt on Wednesday, September 30

Whether you’re at work, at school, or at home, get out that orange shirt! Make sure you take a picture to share on Facebook and Twitter (include the hashtags #OrangeShirtDay, #EveryChildMatters, and #UCCan), and challenge your friends and family to do the same. You can also send your pictures to Reconciliation and Indigenous Justice Animator Sara Stratton at  SStratton@united-church.ca for use on our social media pages.

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