WATCH — Indigenous change-makers share a message for kids on Orange Shirt Day

Published 2021-09-30 03:11

Hear from an award-winning musician to a newly-elected politician


Are you wearing an orange shirt today?

Sept. 30 is the day kids and adults across Canada are encouraged to wear orange, as a way to honour Indigenous residential school survivors and those who did not make it home.

The day is also a reminder that every child in Canada matters — including Indigenous kids, who have a history of being mistreated in this country.

This year, Orange Shirt Day is taking on a new and important role in reconciliation, which is the process of healing the relationship between Indigenous and non-Indigenous people.

Going forward, the day will officially be called the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation.

So, yeah, today is a big deal.

CBC Kids News asked a group of First Nations, Inuit and Métis people to share their thoughts on Sept. 30 and why it’s meaningful to them.

Watch the video to hear from:

Click play to hear messages from Indigenous change-makers on Orange Shirt Day!

Why is the shirt orange?

Orange Shirt Day was first started in 2013 by residential school survivor Phyllis Webstad, who was sent to a residential school in Williams Lake, British Columbia, when she was just six years old.

On her first day at the institute, Webstad was wearing a new orange shirt her grandma had bought for her.

Orange Shirt Day founder Phyllis Webstad survived her time at a residential school and now teaches others about her experience. (Image credit: Darryl Dyck/The Canadian Press)

Webstad said the school staff took her shirt away, and she didn’t understand why.

“The colour orange has always reminded me of that, and how my feelings didn’t matter, how no one cared and how I felt like I was worth nothing. All of us little children were crying and no one cared,” she wrote on the official Orange Shirt Day website.

Have your Orange Shirt Day photos?

Share them with us at for a chance to be featured on our site.

Looking for support?

A National Indian Residential School Crisis Line has been set up to provide support for former students and those affected. The 24-hour national crisis line is: 1-866-925-4419.

Kids can also call the Kids Help Phone at 1-800-668-6868 or text CONNECT to 686868.