Every Child Matters: Events happening in and around Vancouver to commemorate Orange Shirt Day 2021

Orange Shirt Day serves to create awareness about the history and ongoing legacies of the residential school system in Canada. File Yi Yang

Thursday September 30 is Orange Shirt Day. It is a day to honour and remember residential school survivors and their families, as well as children that did not survive the residential school system. Orange Shirt Day also serves to create awareness about the history and ongoing legacies of the residential school system in Canada.

Orange Shirt Day originates from Phyllis Webstad’s story. Webstad had just turned six when she was sent to St. Joseph’s Residential School in Williams Lake, BC in 1973. On her first day, the bright, new orange shirt her Granny had bought for Webstad before she was taken from her.

On September 30, 2013, Webstad spoke publicly about her experience for the first time. You can listen to Webstad speak about her experience here, and learn more about Orange Shirt Day at orangeshirtday.org.

Here are some events and initiatives taking place online and in-person, on and off UBC campus, to commemorate Orange Shirt Day and recognize residential school survivors, their families, loved ones, communities and the children who never made it home.

The Making of the Witness Blanket Film Screening Webinar

Tuesday, September 21 from 4:30 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.

This event consists of a film screening and conversation with Kwagiulth master carver Carey Newman and his sisters Marion and Ellen. This event is part of the UBC Indian Residential School History and Dialogue Centre’s Orange Shirt Day | National Day for Truth and Reconciliation programming. It is presented in partnership with the Indian Residential School History and Dialogue Centre, First Nations House of Learning, UBC Learning Circle and the Centre for Excellence in Indigenous Health. It is free and open to UBC students, staff and faculty at both campuses as well as to wider community members, however, registration is required.

Museum of Anthropology presents Honour with Orange: Lantern Workshop and Indigenous Stories

Saturday, September 25 from 10:30 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.

Join the Museum of Anthropology for stories by Indigenous authors and lantern-making in honour of Orange Shirt Day. This free event is designed for families with children aged 6–12. Children must be accompanied by a parent. All materials and supplies will be provided.

Returning Home and Pathways to Reconciliation:” Film screening and Q&A with Phyllis Webstad

Monday, September 27 from 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.

The screening is a live and in-person event at the Chan Centre. This event is presented by the Indian Residential School History and Dialogue Centre, the UBC Learning Circle, as part of the Centre for Excellence in Indigenous Health, the First Nations House of Learning, and the Chan Centre for the Performing Arts.

Orange Shirt Day Intergenerational March

Thursday, September 30 from 11:30 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.

To honour and commemorate Orange Shirt Day, many of UBC’s STEM faculties (applied science, land and food systems, science and forestry) are holding an "intergenerational march" on this day. Organizers are inviting members of the entire UBC community to join in.

Xweýene:msta:m ?əkwəsqwel, seýeḿ “Call to witness / listen to respected one”

Thursday, September 30 at 12:00 p.m.

Presented by the Vancouver Art Gallery, Xweýene:msta:m ?əkwəsqwel, seýeḿ is a performance to honour Orange Shirt Day on Thursday, September 30. The event will take place in-person.

Museum of Anthropology’s Sound House presents: Never Forgotten

Thursday, September 30 from 7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.

Another season of MOA's Sound House launches with Never Forgotten, a reflective night of poetry, hip hop, and spoken word by Indigenous artists to mark Orange Shirt Day. Join in a commemorative lantern procession and take in the powerful performances by the orange glow in MOA’s Haida House. The event will take place in person.

For more resources about the residential school system and its ongoing legacy, please visit the Indian Residential School History and Dialogue Centre’s website, irshdc.ubc.ca.