Marking Orange Shirt Day

Lawn filled with orange shirts on the uOttawa campus

To the uOttawa community,

Today, September 30th, we mark Orange Shirt Day, an annual day of recognition of the harm the residential school system did to Indigenous children, and an affirmation of our shared commitment to reconciliation and remembering.

Orange Shirt Day was founded in 2013, a movement that arose as a popular response to a children’s book called Phyllis’ Orange Shirt, written by Phyllis Webstad, who was sent to a residential school at the age of 6. Her  book describes how her favorite orange shirt was taken away and never returned upon her arrival, a symbol of so much else that was forcefully taken.

As a society we have much to do to right the wrongs of the past and to mitigate the tragic consequences of the historic genocide of Indigenous peoples in Canada. Wearing orange on September 30th in honour of that history is a small but public step of solidarity, one we should all make.

Jacques Frémont,
President and Vice-Chancellor