Orange Shirt Day to raise awareness of residential schools

The Brock community is encouraged to wear orange Monday to raise awareness of the history of Canada’s residential school system.

Orange Shirt Day is held annually on Sept. 30 to bring to light the history of residential schools and their negative effects on children’s self-esteem and well-being. While the national event is observed on Sunday, members of the Brock community are invited to wear orange on Monday, Oct. 1.

Brock lecturer Sherri Vansickle, with the Tecumseh Centre for Aboriginal Research and Education, encouraged her students to wear orange shirts to class this week. They discussed the residential school system and watched The Secret Path, a film chronicling the heartbreaking story of a student’s residential school experience and his subsequent death.

The original orange shirt that inspired the movement was worn by six-year-old Phyllis (Jack) Webstad in 1973 on her first day at the St. Joseph Mission residential school. Webstad proudly wore the new, bright orange shirt her grandmother bought her for the occasion, only to be stripped of it when she arrived at the school. To this day, the colour orange reminds Webstad of her feelings of worthlessness and insignificance.

To learn more about Orange Shirt Day, visit

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