Orange Shirt Day began in 2013 to honour Residential School survivors and their families, to remember those children who didn't come home and to encourage and support awareness of the individual, family and community inter-generational impacts of Residential Schools.
In May 2013, Chief Fred Robbins of Esk’etemc First Nation brought together Chiefs, Councils, elected officials, RCMP officers, schools, churches as well as Indigenous and non-Indigenous residents of Williams Lake and the Cariboo region as part of the St. Joseph’s Mission Residential School Commemoration Project. It was his vision for reconciliation, which involved having all people remember and learn about what had happened at this school, to honour and help the Survivors to recover from their experiences, and ultimately reconcile together.
EVERY CHILD MATTERS
Following this event, Indigenous and non-Indigenous local communities began to work together to support the creation of a new legacy for Indigenous people. Orange Shirt Day is held annually on September 30 and is one way to create meaningful discussion about the effects of Residential Schools and to involve people, industry, schools and communities in the reconciliation journey.