December 5, 2023

SEPTEMBER 30 is ORANGE SHIRT DAY: Every Child Matters

In Canada, September 30th has been declared Orange Shirt Day annually, in recognition of the harm the residential school system did to children’s sense of self-esteem and well being, and as an affirmation of our commitment to ensure that everyone around us matters.

The Orange Shirt Society is a non-profit organization with its home in Williams Lake, BC where Orange Shirt Day began in 2013. We have both Indigenous and non-Indigenous board members. The purposes of our society are as follows:

    • To support Indian Residential School Reconciliation
    • To create awareness of the individual, family and community inter-generational impacts of Indian Residential Schools through Orange Shirt Society activities
    • To create awareness of the concept of “Every Child Matters”

The orange shirt has become a much bigger symbol and wearing orange to honour and remember the Indigenous children who were taken to residential schools is not limited to just September 30th.

Beaded orange t-shirt pins have been showcased on social media platforms for several years.  They are often used as a fundraiser and it has become extremely important to highlight that these beaded items should be purchased from indigenous beaders and NOT from overseas manufacturers with no connection to the movement.

Orange Shirt Project PDF by Melissa Compton – Mi’kmaq Nation Orange Shirt Pin – Step by Step for blog

Earlier this summer we stumbled on a project PDF for the Orange Shirt Pin by Melissa.  She was completely surprised by our email asking if we could share the resource, since she didn’t realize the PDF was online.  After several emails Melissa allowed us to add a new cover to the project and share some information about her and her beadwork journey.  Please take a moment to read her comments on page 2.

Follow Mel on Instagram to see her beadwork projects.   (this author just purchased gorgeous earrings from her)

We also found a video project on YouTube and that lead us to “How To Make A Beaded Orange Shirt Pin with Jenny Blackbird.”

We reached out to Jenny about sharing this video resource with you.  Jenny asked us to do two things:

The first thing:  Share relevant Orange Shirt or Residential School survivor support links so people may learn more or donate if they are in a financial position to do so.

The Indian Residential School Survivor Society   
For CRISIS SUPPORT 24/7 call 1-800-721-0066

The Orange Shirt Day Society

The Woodland Cultural Centre

Her second request: was for bead support for a Residential School survivor group and we are taking care of this request this week.

Jenny also asked us to reinforce our earlier comment to support legitimate indigenous companies if you are looking for Orange Shirt Day products.  The theft of art for companies profiting from t-shirts sales etc. is shameful.  Jenny is on twitter.

Our company has purchased finished pins from Destiny Thomas Designs.  Destiny is a Mohawk woman from Akwesasne, ON.  Her website is filled with beautiful finished beadwork.  If you follow her on Instagram you will also be inspired.

To further our company education on Orange Shirt Day and the history of residential schools in Canada we have purchased several copies of this new book.  The book is designed as a textbook for students in Grades 5 and older, but it is an excellent resource for parents and the general public as well.  You can purchase copies here.

Our company would also like to extend a heartfelt public thank you to Naomi Smith of Black Tulip Designs for the Indigenous History & Perspectives Workshop she presented at John Bead in July. It was our first event in a year and a half and an important one.  Naomi continues to offer her advice and knowledge to our company with regards to how we might continue to help “not just on September 30, but for years to come.”

In closing, our company is proud to share this project PDF to make orange t-shirt pins with you today.  Extra special thanks to Melissa Compton and Jenny Blackbird.  Consider making extra pins to share with friends and family.  Please do not make these for personal profit.  If you make them for a fundraiser please donate 100% of your profit to a local indigenous organization or The Orange Shirt Society.  They also have amazing resources online for teachers.

This is post one of several we will make this month.  We have a fundraising initiative to announce shortly.

Indian Residential School Survivors and Family        1-866-925-4419

The Indian Residential Schools Crisis Line is available 24-hours a day for anyone experiencing pain or distress as a result of his or her Residential school experience.