White graphic on orange shirt reads “every child matters.” This T-shirt was created for Orange Shirt Day, an initiative of the Elementary Teachers Federation of Ontario.
In 1973 six-year old Phyllis Webstad was gifted a brand new orange shirt from her grandmother and wore it to the residential (mission) school she attended in British Columbia. Upon her arrival, school officials removed and discarded the shirt from her and replaced it with a school uniform. This greatly impacted the mental and emotional well-being of Webstad and symbolized that “her feelings never mattered.” September 30 was chosen as the date to commemorate all the children that attended residential schools as it was also the time of year that children had to leave their homes and communities to attend the schools. This annual campaign began in 2013 after Webstad shared this experience at a reunion with other survivors.
Visit the Orange Shirt Day webpage for more information and to access lesson plans at www.orangeshirtday.org.