Orange Shirt Day


Indian Residential Schools in Canada

Orange Shirt Day commemorates and remembers the experiences of Indigenous children who were part of Canada’s Indian Residential School System. Over 130 Residential Schools operated in Canada between 1831 and 1996. In that period over 150,000 children attended Residential Schools. These schools removed children from their parents and communities with the purpose of assimilating them into Canadian culture.

Thousands died either at these schools, or because of their experiences at the schools. Many remain missing. Children were forcibly removed from their homes and separated from their parents at a young age. They were forbidden to wear traditional clothing or participate in their own culture.

Abuse was common at these schools with children being beaten and locked in small spaces for misbehaving. Numerous students were sexually abused. A large percentage did not receive enough food to eat. Poor living conditions and malnutrition meant many became sick with preventable diseases such as tuberculosis and influenza.

Information from the Canadian Encyclopedia. Click here to read the full article.

Orange Shirt Day

Orange Shirt Day commemorates the experience of one survivor the Indian Residential School System. The video below tells her story.


Click here to learn more about Orange Shirt Day.

September 30 is the Orange Shirt Day in Canada. On September 30, we wear orange to:

  • Show that every child matters.
  • To honour the children who survived Indian Residential Schools.
  • To remember the children who did not survive Indian Residential Schools.
  • To support reconciliation.

Click here to view videos by Sun West students that explain why we wear orange on Orange Shirt Day.

Sun West supports Orange Shirt Day and encourages all its students and staff to wear orange on September 30 in keeping with Call to Action 63 of the final report of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, which states:

We call upon the Council of Ministers of Education, Canada to maintain an annual commitment to Aboriginal education issues, including:

  • Developing and implementing Kindergarten to Grade Twelve curriculum and learning resources on Aboriginal peoples in Canadian history, and the history and legacy of residential schools.
  • Sharing information and best practices on teaching curriculum related to residential schools and Aboriginal history.
  • Building student capacity for intercultural understanding, empathy, and mutual respect.
  • Identifying teacher-training needs relating to the above.

Click here for more information on the Truth and Reconciliation Commission Final Report on Residential Schools.

Orange Shirt Day Resource Bank materials.

The Sun West Resource Bank has many materials available to teachers and students at the First Nations and Métis Hub and in the Orange Shirt Day Collection. Make sure you check them out!

Orange Shirt Day National Film Board of Canada

The National Film board of Canada (NFB) has placed a number of films about Orange Shirt Day and residential schools into a collection that is available on their website.

Click here to view the collection.

For access to films and resources such as Every Child Matters and Indigenous Voices and Reconciliation films, visit Rover via Blackboard. Click here for more information on how to access the NFB via Rover.

Acknowledgement Ceremony

As part of Orange Shirt Day, Sun West held an Acknowledgement Ceremony with First Nations Elders and Knowledge Keepers. The event was live streamed and below is a recording of the event.