On September 30, wear an orange shirt to remember and honour Indigenous children who were taken from their homes.

On September 30, people all across Canada will wear orange shirts to remember and honour Indigenous children who were taken from their communities and families to residential schools.

The summer of 2021 was a summer of orange shirts as Indigenous communities across the country shared the truth they have always known: that many of the children who never returned from residential schools remain on the grounds of those institutions in unmarked burial sites. These communities are now seeking to honour the missing children.

This Orange Shirt Day is also the first observance of a National Day for Truth and Reconciliation. For settler Christians in particular, this is a time when we can reflect on our role in colonialism and the residential school system, and our ongoing responsibility to make reparations.

Why Orange?

Phyllis Jack Webstad from the Stswecem’c Xgat’tem First Nation went to St. Joseph Mission Residential School. On her first day of school, Phyllis wore an orange shirt that her grandmother had given her. It was immediately taken away, and that marked the beginning of Phyllis’s long separation from her family and community, a separation caused by actions of the church and federal government.

Orange Shirt Day is a time for us all to remember those events, their ongoing impact, and just as importantly the continuing strength and resilience of Indigenous peoples.

Take Action

  1. Mark Orange Shirt Day in your community of faith on September 26. Whether your community of faith is meeting in person or online, please ask people to wear orange for a community picture. That could be a safely distanced group photo, a Zoom call screenshot, or a photo collage. Share your photos on Facebook and Twitter (include the hashtags #OrangeShirtDay, #EveryChildMatters, and #UCCan), or send your pictures to Reconciliation and Indigenous Justice Animator Sara Stratton (SStratton@united-church.ca) for use on our social media pages.
  2. Share the Moderator's Orange Shirt Day video.
  3. Pray using this prayer inspired by Honarine Scott’s Orange Shirt Day blog.
  4. Join our panel discussion "Indigenous Children Then, Now, and Tomorrow" on September 29, 5:30‒7:00 p.m. Eastern. Panellists will touch on topics including Indigenous children in residential schools, the Sixties Scoop, the Millennial Scoop, and bringing our children home. Register at United in Learning.
  5. Wear an orange shirt on Thursday, September 30. Whether you’re at work, at school, or at home, get out that orange shirt! Make sure you take a picture to share on Facebook and Twitter (include the hashtags #OrangeShirtDay, #EveryChildMatters, and #UCCan), and challenge your friends and family to do the same. You can also send your pictures to Reconciliation and Indigenous Justice Animator Sara Stratton (SStratton@united-church.ca) for use on our social media pages.
  6. Join in a candlelight vigil on September 30 with Indigenous Ministries and Justice Executive Minister Murray Pruden at 7:00 p.m. Eastern on the Indigenous Ministries Facebook page.
  7. Read former Healing Programs Coordinator Honarine Scott's powerful reflection.