Idea Exchange | September 24, 2021
September 30 is Orange Shirt Day, a day to honour Indigenous children who were sent to residential schools in Canada. Orange Shirt Day challenges us to witness and honour the stories of Survivors and their families, and to commit to meaningful discussion and the ongoing process of reconciliation.
Orange Shirt Day originated in British Columbia with founder and Northern Secwpemc (Shuswap) from the Stswecem’c Xgat’tem First Nation and an Indian Residential School Survivor Phyllis Webstad’s story. Phyllis’ family purchased a shiny new orange shirt for her to wear when she started at the residential school in Mission, BC in 1973. But when she arrived there, her Orange Shirt was stripped from her and never given back along with her name, her identity, her language, and her connection to her family and culture. It is a story that reminds us of the harm of residential schools and how First Nations, Métis and Inuit children were left feeling worthless. Orange Shirt Day shines a light on the truth of Canada’s history towards Indigenous Peoples and asserts that Every Child Matters.
Learn more by visiting the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation and reading the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada’s 94 Calls to Action. There is even a child-friendly educational resource about the Calls to Action. Locally you can explore the Woodland Cultural Centre in Brantford where the former Mohawk Institute Indian Residential School is being restored as a site of conscience, with a goal to make it “a fully-realized Interpretive Centre that will be the definitive destination for information about the history of Residential Schools in Canada, the experiences of Survivors of the schools, and the impact that the Residential School system has had on our communities.” Here is a selection of programs, books, film and other material that spotlight Indigenous stories of Residential Schools, stories by Indigenous authors, and information about Indigenous History in Canada.
Squamish Stories with Kung Jaadee
Thursday, September 30, 11:00am
Kung Jaadee shares her telling of Squamish legends in this live storytelling performance.
Indigenous Perspectives at the ROM
Thursday, October 14, 2:00pm
Make a virtual visit to the Royal Ontario Museum and talk to their Indigenous Museum Educator.
Love Your Body - Heal the World
Monday, October 18, 7:00pm
The Aunties Dandelion present their 10-minute film VeRONAka - about the fictional embodiment of COVID-19.
For Adults -- Non-Fiction, Fiction, and Film
From Bear Rock Mountain : the life and times of a Dene residential school survivor by Antoine Mountain, 2019
They called me number one : secrets and survival at an Indian residential school by Bev Sellars, 2013
Seven fallen feathers : racism, death, and hard truths in a northern city by Tanya Talaga, 2017
The education of Augie Merasty : a residential school memoir by Joseph Auguste Merasty, 2017
Broken circle : the dark legacy of Indian residential schools : a memoir by Theodore Fontaine, 2010
A matter of conscience by James Bartleman, 2018
This Place: 150 Years Retold Anthology, 2019
Browse further in our collection:
For Younger Children -- Picture Books
Phyllis's orange shirt by Phyllis Webstad, 2019
When we were alone by David Robertson, 2016
The Train by Jodie Callaghan, 2020
Stolen Words by Melanie Florence, 2017
I am not a number by Jenny Kay Dupuis, 2016
For Older Children and Teens -- Graphic Novels, Fiction, and Non-Fiction
The ghost collector by Allison Mills, 2019
7 Generations graphic novel series by David Robertson
Secret Path by Gord Downie & Jeff Lemire
Orange Shirt Day, September 30th, 2020
These are my words : the residential school diary of Violet Pesheens by Ruby Slipperjack, 2016; Dear Canada Series
Speaking Our Truth: a journey of reconciliation by Monique Gray Smith, 2017
Fatty Legs : A True Story by Christy Jordan-Fenton, 2010
Browse Further in our Collection: