Orange Shirt Day, commemorated every September 30th, stands as a powerful testament to the resilience of Indigenous communities. It's a day that pays tribute to the countless Indigenous children taken from their homes and forced into residential schools. This pivotal moment in our collective history serves as a somber reminder of the need for reconciliation and the urgency of keeping memories alive for the betterment of tomorrow.
The Origins of Orange Shirt Day
Orange Shirt Day traces its origin back to Phyllis Webstad's story. As a young Northern Secwepemc girl attending St. Joseph Mission Residential School, Phyllis was stripped of her new orange shirt on her first day at the school. A shirt she was proud of, taken away, symbolizing the erasure of the Indigenous identity she held dear.
The event, now marked every September 30th, stands as a testament to the survivors of the Indian Residential School system. Furthermore, it seeks to affirm the belief that every child matters, fostering understanding and promoting reconciliation.
From Shield of Protection to Orange Shirt
By the summer of 2021, the world reeled from the heartbreaking revelation of 215 lost souls in Kamloops. Consequently, Spirit Bear launched an Orange Shirt inspired by the protective shield's design. It bears a powerful message for every wearer and observer.
The back of the shirt carries even deeper layers of meaning. Lyrics reminiscent of Metallica's "Nothing Else Matters" are a tribute to Sean’s favorite band. But more than a mere musical homage, they evoke the philosophy of "7 generations" thinking, mirroring the ethos of Orange Shirt Day: every child matters.
The writing, penned with a black feather representing the protection of the angels, pays homage to the children who endured, and those who never made it home.
Wearing the Message, Supporting the Cause
Our Orange Shirt is more than just apparel; it's a declaration. With every purchase, you aren't just donning a piece of clothing; you're supporting a cause. In addition, sales proceeds go to the Orange Shirt Day organization and the IRSSS (Indian Residential School Survivors Society). It's our way of standing in solidarity, ensuring that the truths of the past shape a more inclusive and compassionate future.
This Orange Shirt Day, remember the stories of survival, the strength of Indigenous communities, and our relentless drive for a better tomorrow. Together, let’s bear witness to history and shape a future where every child, indeed, matters.