September 30 is National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, also known as Orange Shirt Day, across Canada. The day honours the families, children, and communities whose lives were forever changed by the Residential School System, and serves as a reminder of the enduring legacies of these schools and their ongoing impacts on Indigenous peoples in Canada today. Indigenous peoples, families, and communities across Canada continue to grapple with the profound and lasting ramifications of the Residential School System. Orange Shirt Day draws its name from the experience of Phyllis Webstad on her first day at a residential school. The orange shirt has come to symbolize the loss of language, culture, and identity that she and so many others experienced in these institutions. This day calls each one of us to learn the truths, and to strive to “put things right” (University of Regina’s Indigenous Engagement Strategic Plan, 2022-2025). As Cadmus Delorme recently said, none of us created residential schools, but we have inherited their legacy and are each responsible for the actions necessary to work with and toward reconciliation. Part of our responsibility is to seek out ways to learn and grow in our commitments.
The CTRC has compiled a list of resources to support you in your learning journey.
For Orange Shirt Day, the Orange Shirt Society urges that you listen to Phyllis Webstad’s story, the origin of Orange Shirt Day. The Orange Shirt Society also has created video resources about residential schools for classrooms, as well as curated print resources.
The National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation has handpicked resources for educators, sorted by grade.
The Truth and Reconciliation Commission has published its Calls to Action.
The University of Regina has released its Indigenous Engagement Strategic Plan.
The Stranger is a video of the first chapter of the multi-media project The Secret Path by Gord Downie, detailing the true story of a young boy trying to return home from a residential school. The story is recommended for grades 10-12.
YouthREX has resources focusing on supporting educators, youth, and Indigenous Youth, in various mediums such as videos, podcasts, and written resources.
The Saskatchewan Teachers’ Federation has compiled a list of resources on residential schools in Canada.
Shattering the Silence is a free ebook created for educators by Project Heart about the history and legacy of residential schools in Saskatchewan.
Canada’s National Historical Society offers a treaty educational package with lessons for multiple grade levels on the meaning, history, and legacy of treaties in Canada.
Historica Canada offers Indigenous history teaching kits for free, applicable to multiple grade levels.
Voices From Here is a video series and lesson plan about Indigenous history in Canada, tackling a variety of important topics such as residential schools and treaties.
Not My Girl by Margaret Pokiak-Fenton
When I Was Eight by Christy Jordan-Fenton and Margaret Pokiak-Fenton
When We Were Alone by David Robertson
Fatty Legs by Christy Jordan-Fenton and Margaret Pokiak-Fenton
The Orange Shirt Story by Phyllis Webstad
This website is for educational purposes. If the situation is urgent, please call 911, or your local emergency services providers.