On September 30th, Orange Shirt Day, Every Child Matters Day and Canada's National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, we wear orange shirts to show our support to survivors of the residential school system, and honour the children who never came home. It is a beautiful and meaningful way to show your support for Indigenous peoples and to raise awareness of the ongoing legacy of residential schools.
This orange shirt was designed by intergenerational residential school survivor Jenny Sawanohk, Red Stone Snake Woman, an Indigenous artist from Moose Cree First Nation. The shirt features a sketch of the moccasins that all of Jenny's children wore. Made from an Elder in her community, the late Rosie Blueboy, they are very sacred to her. As a mother, healer and educator on Truth and Reconciliation, it is important for Jenny to hold space for Canadians to learn about the residential school system, so they can develop the understanding and compassion needed to support Indigenous People in their healing.
The moccasins are sitting atop an outline of Mother Earth as a symbol of our sacred relationship to her. Residential schools were an aggressive assimilation tactic by our government to erase Indigenous identity and Indigenous inherent rights to land. We all deserve the sacred bond between parent and child, to our communities, and to the Land in which sustains us, Mother Earth.
This orange shirt is a powerful and moving reminder of the importance of protecting and caring for all children and Mother Earth. It is a shirt that can be worn with pride, and it is a shirt that can make a difference.
Proceeds for the sale of our shirts goes towards our nonprofit Misiwe Ni Relations Healing Lodge's Healing Forest for residential school survivors and their families. https://www.nationalhealingforests.com/manotick
Please visit www.orangeshirtday.org to learn more about Orange Shirt Day and Phyllis Webstad's journey. Miigwech for sharing your truth Phyllis.
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