September 30 commemorates Orange Shirt Day. The Innovation Hub Team reflects together on the importance of this day, and of reconciliation more broadly.
Written by Paul Kaita, Senior Project Assistant, Master of Education, Higher Education
September 30th, 2022, is Orange Shirt Day, also known as the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation. This day raises awareness of the history of residential schools in Canada and their impact on the Indigenous community. Acknowledging the painful and traumatic histories of the past is essential in the ongoing process towards reconciliation.
Reflections on Orange Shirt Day
Last week, some of the Innovation Hub team members came together in our co-working space to reflect on reconciliation and the significance of Orange Shirt Day. On June 3, 2021, the Government of Canada enacted National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, which marked today as a new holiday. This day of remembrance reminds us that Every Child Matters and that we must not forget the history of residential schools and the pain and suffering they caused Canada’s Indigenous peoples. The holiday is one step towards ongoing engagement, dialogue, and change to reconcile our shameful past.
Our team at the Innovation Hub wanted to ensure that we acknowledge this important day, but also that we take action. Together, we created a collage of orange shirts with our reflective thoughts written on them. We used the following questions to guide our discussion:
- What does National Day of Truth and Reconciliation mean to you?
- Why is it important to celebrate and acknowledge?
- What can we do to at the Innovation Hub to highlight this important day?
- What are ways to continue the conversation at U of T and beyond around National Day of Truth & Reconciliation?
As a team, our goal is to continue to fill our co-working space during and beyond this day with orange shirts. These shirts serve as an important and ongoing reminder of the importance of doing the work of reconciliation.
A Living Artifact
Our team members took time to reflect on this day using an arts-based approach to apply our learning and reflection, where we wrote, drew, and sketched our reflections onto an orange paper t-shirt and placed them on the walls of our space. We have pasted them to our column, facing the four directions which can be viewed from anywhere. We will continue to add new reflections and insights to our wall.
From our dialogue, we all understand that National Day for Truth and Reconciliation is an important day and these are important discussions that must continue beyond September 30th. Throughout the year and beyond, our team can continue to add to our living artifact wall and design their own t-shirt to place in our co-working space. When our teams reconvene, community members connect, and partners discover the Innovation Hub, our Orange Shirt Day craft will be a constant reminder of the ongoing journey towards reconciliation.
We urge you to reflect on the same questions our team has reflected on and to continue to learn about this day and its significance. Attend an event, add to your reading list, and discover your own engagement.
- Hart House is commemorating the day on September 30, 2022, 10 am-11 am. Attend the virtual or attend in-person event
- Learn more about latest news and events happening at the University of Toronto
- Connect with the Indigenous Studies Student Union
- Connect with First Nations House Indigenous Student Services
- Read more about Every Child Matters Flag being raised at Varsity Stadium
- Read more about the story of Orange Shirt Day and its origins at orangeshirtday.org
Orange Shirt Society. (n.d.). Orange Shirt day. Orange Shirt Day. Retrieved September 26, 2022, from https://www.orangeshirtday.org/
Parliament of Canada. (2021, June 3). Government Bill (House of Commons) C-5 (43-2) – royal assent – an act to amend the Bills of Exchange Act, the Interpretation Act and the Canada labour code (National Day for Truth and Reconciliation) – Retrieved September 26, 2022, from https://parl.ca/DocumentViewer/en/43-2/bill/C-5/royal-assent
Webstad, P., & Nicol, B. (2019). Phyllis’s orange shirt. Medicine Wheel Education.