Members across Ontario took part in the commemoration of Orange Shirt Day in late September and early October. The event is marked annually on September 30, but because it fell on a Saturday this year, Orange Shirt Day was recognized on different dates across the province, including on September 29 by OSSTF/FEESO at Provincial Council.
Orange Shirt Day is a legacy of the St. Joseph Mission residential school commemoration event held in Williams Lake, BC, Canada.
The initial commemoration was in the spring of 2013, and grew out of an account by a First Nations residential school student who had her orange shirt taken away from her on her first day of school at the Mission.
That first commemoration has evolved into a nation-wide opportunity to promote the discussion of residential schools and move forward toward reconciliation every year.
The end of September was selected as the date of recognition because it represents the time of year when First Nations, Métis and Inuit children were taken from their homes to be placed in residential schools.
Members of OSSTF/FEESO know the importance of commemoration, of educating current and future generations about the residential school system, and exploring how we can all work together in the spirit of reconciliation.