Orange Shirt Day: Every Child Matters

Reconciliation Pole at UBC’s Vancouver campus

In September 1973 Phyllis Jack Webstad was six years old and beginning school at the St. Joseph Mission Residential School.  She proudly wore a new, shiny, orange shirt.  Within minutes of her arrival, she was stripped of all her clothes, including her new shirt, which she never saw again.

Each year on September 30th, we recognize Orange Shirt Day as an acknowledgement of the harm that the residential school system did to thousands of indigenous children. At the same time, Orange Shirt Day has come to mean more – it is an opportunity to do anti-racism work and to reinforce anti-bullying policies; it is a time to come together in reconciliation and truth.

Join us and wear orange on September 29th.

At UBC, we are committed to creating a community in which human rights are respected, and equity and inclusion are embedded in all areas of academic, work and campus life.

On April 1st 2017 UBC raised a Reconciliation Pole symbolizing the experiences of residential school students and the path toward reconciliation between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples in Canada. Likewise, at UBC Okanagan, the Story Poles by Les Louis represent the seven bands of the Okanagan Nation Alliance and uses ancestral pictographs to tell stories of the different bands.

As a teaching, learning, and research institution, UBC’s efforts are further focused on exploring and advancing knowledge in regards to our collective history and experiences.

The Indian Residential School History and Dialogue Centre, scheduled to be opened in the 2017-2018 academic year, is one example of these efforts that seeks to further our understanding of the history and lasting effects of Indian residential schools.

The Indigenous Foundations website provides information on the history of Indian residential schools, as well as other key topics related to the histories, politics, and cultures of the Aboriginal peoples of Canada.

UBC’s Equity & Inclusion Office (Vancouver and Okanagan campus) provides resources, services and workshops that support employment equity, education, leadership and policy initiatives as part of our efforts to create an inclusive, resilient and respectful environment.

UBC recognizes that the UBC Point Grey campus is situated on traditional, ancestral, and unceded territory of the Musqueam people and that the Okanagan campus is situated on the territory of the Syilx Okanagan Nation.

Related events

Student Lunch, Aboriginal Collegium, September 29, 12:00 PM
UBC Okanagan Campus

Orange Shirt Day Walk, September 29, 9:30 AM
Vancouver Aboriginal Friendship Centre