The University of Windsor is committed to reconciliation. We're working to foster respect and mutual understanding with all Indigenous peoples and communities. You can partner in the work of reconciliation by listening, learning and sharing on Orange Shirt Day.
What is Orange Shirt Day?
Orange Shirt Day is a national movement in Canada. During this annual event, Indigenous and non-Indigenous people come together in the spirit of hope and reconciliation to honour residential school survivors, their families, and communities.
On this day, we learn about the impacts of the policies and actions of the Government of Canada and the churches that operated the schools. We listen to the stories of survivors and their families and remember those that didn’t make it home.
This year’s Orange Shirt Day will take place on September 30, 2021, the inaugural National Day for Truth and Reconciliation in Canada.
Orange Shirt Day began in Williams Lake, BC in 2013 at the St. Joseph Mission (SJM) residential school commemoration event at which, survivor Phyllis Webstad told the story of her shiny new orange shirt that was taken away from her on her first day of school at the SJM.
Orange Shirt Day occurs in early fall because this is the time of year when children were removed from their families and forced to attend residential schools.
The residential school era began in the early 1870’s, with the last school closing in 1996. More than 150,000 First Nations, Métis and Inuit children attended these schools. There are an estimated 80,000 survivors living today.
Hear Our Stories
Orange Shirt Day is an annual event held each September 30th in remembrance of the Canadian Residential School system and the impact of this government policy on First Nations. Phyllis Webstad presents her memories of Residential schools and the meaning of Orange Shirt Day.
Susie Kicknosway Jones shares her experiences with us as a First Nations person and a Christian. She reflects on her life, the suffering she had endured, and how she lives now as a survivor of the residential school system and a follower of Jesus.
Gregg Deal is a husband, father, artist and a member of the Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribe. As a provocative contemporary artist-activist much of Deal’s work deals with Indigenous identity and pop culture, touching on issues of race relations, historical consideration and stereotype. With this work—including paintings, mural work, performance art, filmmaking and spoken word—Deal critically examines issues within Indian country such as decolonization, the Native mascot issue and appropriation.
Annie's personal experience contextualizes her talk, which focuses on the importance of family and community in overcoming traumatic experiences.
More Ways to Get Involved
Facebook Frames: To participate, from your Facebook account, select 'update profile picture' and then 'add frame'. In the frame search field, type 'Shkawbewisag' to add the custom frame to your profile picture.
Presentation Slide: Teaching a class on Orange Shirt Day? Add this image to your presentation to talk about Orange Shirt Day with your students.
Email Signature: Add Orange Shirt Day to your email signature.
Support Indigenous Students on Campus
Support Indigenous students at the University of Windsor by purchasing an Orange Shirt Day t-shirt or a lawn sign. All proceeds donated will support Indigenous students at the University of Windsor.
Please note that we have sold out of lawn signs and t-shirts. Thank you to our UWindsor community for your support.
T-Shirts and lawn signs that have been purchased will be available for pick up at the CAW Student Centre room 117 Tuesday, September 28th and Wednesday, September 29th from 12-3 pm.
Still interested in contributing?
You can also support our Indigenous students by donating to the Geoffrey H Wood Native Bursary endowment.
Geoffrey H Wood Native Bursary endowment is for students who are of Aboriginal ancestry (status, non-status, Metis, Bill C31, Innu and Inuit), maintain satisfactory academic standing and demonstrate financial need.
Healing and Support
If you find that you need emotional support after engaging with Orange Shirt Day material, there are some services available.
24-hour crisis line for survivors and family of survivors.
Provides free, confidential professional counselling for UWindsor students, available by phone or chat in 35+ languages. Can ask to speak with a counsellor who has an identity that aligns with yours (e.g., BIPOC, 2SLGBTQ+, etc.).
Thank you to our Orange Shirt Day Sponsors