Orange Shirt Day, held annually on September 30, is to raise awareness and keep dialogue open about residential schools and their legacy for Indigenous peoples in Canada.
Orange shirts as a representation of this important day grew out of the story of Phyllis (Jack) Webstad. As a child Phyllis's grandmother took her to buy a new outfit for her first year at school. She picked out a shiny orange shirt and was very excited to wear it at her new school. On the first day of school all the children were stripped of their clothing. Phyllis never saw her orange shirt again. The memory of her orange shirt came to symbolize her journey through residential school and everything that experience took from her and left her with.
"Our Indigenous patients have been affected by residential schools and the intergenerational trauma. I welcome staff to participate and show support for our Indigenous patients and families by wearing orange shirts on September 29," says Cheryl Davies, chief operating officer of BC Women's Hospital and Health Centre.
"I wish to invite all staff to join Indigenous Health and wear an orange shirt on Friday September 29, as a way to remember the impacts of residential school and our role in raising awareness and the work we are moving forward in with reconciliation," says Linda Lemke, chief operating officer of BC Children's Hospital.
Honoring this important day aligns with our work in reconciliation and Indigenous Cultural Safety at PHSA and the signing of the Declaration of Commitment by Carl Roy on July 16, 2015 in conjunction with all the regional health authorities and the First Nations Health Authority in BC.
"C&W Indigenous Health is pleased to lead in further awareness on this important day" says Jenny Morgan, director, Indigenous Health at C&W.