Today is Orange Shirt Day here in Canada, or now more formally the National Day of Truth and Reconciliation, a day of remembrance for all the indigenous children who lost their lives in residential schools, and whose burial places even now remain uncertain, and for the many more children who lost their culture, including their language.
In 1960 Phyllis Webstad was a young 6 year old, living on the Dog Creek reserve in northern B.C. She was excited to be going to school for the first time, and her grandmother had scrimped and saved to buy her a bright orange shirt to wear. But when she arrived at school, as in all the residential schools apparently, the children were all stripped, bathed, and de-liced. She never saw her orange shirt again; presumably all the clothes had been burned.
Phyllis was left feeling totally worthless after the indoctrination she experienced at that school, and finally entered therapy at age 27. She finally spoke publicly about her orange shirt on Sept. 30th, 2013 and the image quickly caught on. Now the day is formally remembered as the National Day fore Truth and Reconciliation, but for many it will always be Orange Shirt Day.