September 30 is the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation. In solidarity, orange shirts are worn to honour and remember the children who died at Residential Schools, to witness the healing journey of Survivors and their families and commit to the ongoing process of reconciliation.
The inspiration for Orange Shirt Day came from residential school survivor Phyllis Jack Webstad, who shared her story of her first day of residential schooling at six years old, when she was stripped of her clothes, including a new orange shirt her grandmother bought her, which was never returned. The orange shirt now symbolizes how the residential school system took away the Indigenous identities of its students.
To support the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, you can purchase an orange shirt at a number of Indigenous-owned businesses:
- Orange Shirt Day.net
- Moonstone Creation
- Aboriginal Healing Foundation
- Wanuskewin Gift Shop
- Samson Native Gallery
How to participate
September 30, 1:30 pm
Zoom and Facebook Live
Join guest curator Tanya Harnett for a free virtual exhibit talk. Tanya will share her experience curating the Residential Schools exhibit to share the history and realities of the residential school system in Alberta.
Tanya Harnett is a member of the Carry-The-Kettle First Nation in Saskatchewan. She is an artist and a professor at the University of Alberta in a joint appointment in the Department of Art and Design and the Faculty of Native Studies. Tanya is also a member of the Royal Alberta Museum’s Indigenous Advisory Panel.
This talk will be streamed on Zoom, and on the RAM Facebook page.
September 30, 10:30 am
Zoom and Facebook Live
Attend a virtual reading of Shi-Shi-Etko by Nicola Campbell. Shi-shi-etko is a young girl who has four days before she leaves home for residential school. Her family has many teachings to share with her, about her culture and the land. This book is appropriate for children aged 4-8.
This virtual story time will be streamed on Zoom, and on the RAM Facebook page.
Continue to learn
One of the recommendations from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission is that all Canadians educate themselves on the true history of Indigenous peoples. There are books to introduce children to the history of residential schools, and to help understand the Indian Act and Indigenous Rights. In the spirit of reconciliation, we must continue to listen, learn about and understand Indigenous history and culture, and recognize the long-standing Indigenous presence and sovereignty in this land.