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Toronto Catholic District School Board

Orange Shirt Day

Every Child Matters

Orange Shirt Poster, September 29, 2017 - Every Child Matters
The Equity, Diversity, and Indigenous Education Department of the Toronto Catholic District Board are pleased to extend an invitation to the Toronto Catholic School District School Board community to participate in Orange Shirt Day-Every Child Matters on Friday, September 29, 2017 to acknowledge the issue of Residential Schools and to move forward in reconciliation and with hope by creating space for learning about Indigenous peoples in Canada.
Orange shirt day is a national movement that officially began in 2013 but in reality it began in 1973 when six year old Phyllis Webstad entered the St. Joseph Mission Residential School, outside of Williams Lake, BC. Young Phyllis was wearing a brand new orange shirt for her first day of school – new clothes being a rare and wonderful thing for a First Nation girl growing up in her grandmother’s care – but her shirt was taken away from her upon arrival at the school.
The initiative of Orange Shirt day calls on every Canadian to wear an orange shirt on September 30th in a the spirit of healing and reconciliation by recognizing the issue of residential schools, honouring the survivors and victims, and making a collective effort to ensure that every child matters.  The date September 30th was chosen because that was the time of the year that Government of Canada’s trucks and buses would enter Indigenous communities to collect and deliver children to the residential schools.
Indian residential schools operated across Canada between 1831 and 1996. In its comprehensive report in June 2015 on the residential school policy, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada declares "establishment and operation of residential schools were a central element of this policy, which can best be described as “cultural genocide.”

Due to the fact that September 30th is on  Saturday, we would like to acknowledge this day on Friday, September 29, 2017 by inviting all of our community to wear Orange Shirts, and spend a part of the day learning about Indigenous peoples in Canada.  It is great opportunity to read stories, to write reflections, and have deep discussions on a significant part of Canada’s History.
We are including a resource package to assist with the teaching and learning about residential schools. However, if a school feels that the subject is too mature for students, then we strongly encourage learning about the themes of racism, bullying, and most importantly valuing oneself and identity.  As well, Orange Shirt Day provides the opportunity to incorporate a wide variety of topics about Indigenous peoples into the classroom.

If further assistance is needed, please contact the Toronto Catholic District School Board’s FNMI Resource Teachers.  The contact information is below.
Nick D'Avella
Superitendent of Equity, Diversity, and Indigenous Education
Vanessa Pinto​​ ​​                                                          Frank Pio
FNMI Central Resource Teacher                              FNMI Central Resource Teacher
Toronto Catholic District School Board                     Toronto Catholic District School Board 
Indigenous Education Department                           Indigenous Education Department​
Telephone: 416-222-8282 x2519                              Cell: 647-546-2347
                                                                                 Voice mail: 416-397-6800​                          
Email:                              Email:​                     
Twitter @MsPintoTCDSB

C/O Equity, Inclusion, and Indigenous Education   
80 Sheppard Ave. E., Toronto ON M2N 6E8
We are very thankful to staff and students across the Board who put on an Orange Shirt, and took some time to begin the learning about Indigenous peoples in Canada.  We look forward to a bigger initiative and involvement next year.
Orange Shirt Day Pic Collage 2017.jpg