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The orange shirt.

Are some of your friends and colleagues wearing orange today?

They are doing so to honour the 215 children whose remains were recently discovered in Kamloops at a former residential school. 

Orange Shirt Day falls on September 30 and was started in 2013 to raise awareness and promote healing of those who suffered and were impacted from the cultural genocide that the Canadian Indian residential school system enforced. 

There is symbolism and a story behind the colour orange. Residential school survivor Phyllis Jack Webstad wore a bright orange shirt on her first day of school at age six. The shirt was stripped off her and never returned. This is one of the ways residential schools tried to take away Indigenous identity and “aggressively assimilate.”

Today, we at 51° North honour those who have been affected by the horror of residential schools. We know this is a small act but are committed to learning more, sharing truth and amplifying voices of the Indigenous community. 

To learn more about Orange Shirt Day, please visit:

To donate to survivors, please visit -

The 24-hour National Indian Residential School Crisis Line number is 1‑866‑925‑4419.