Every year on September 30th, people across Canada wear orange to recognize and raise awareness about the history of the residential school system in Canada and its effects on Indigenous children.

Earlier this year, over one thousand unmarked graves were discovered at the sites of former residential schools throughout the country, putting into the national spotlight the deep, lasting wounds within Canada’s Indigenous communities. Put bluntly, these schools created conditions that led to the abuse and deaths of thousands of Indigenous children. Nothing can be done to rectify this. No platitudes, promises, or formal governmental apologies can ever change the fact that children were torn from their families and robbed of their language, culture, and even their lives.

The bare minimum we can do is to let Canada’s Indigenous communities speak for themselves and to arm ourselves with knowledge and compassion as we face unsettling truths about our country’s history, learn to have important discussions, and set a foundation for meaningful change.

In honour of Orange Shirt Day / National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, we encourage you to explore these resources:

Residential Schools Podcast Series

Created by Historica Canada and hosted by Shaneen Robinson-Desjarlais, Residential Schools is a three-part podcast series that aims to explore the history and legacy of Canada’s residential schools as well as honour the stories of First Nations, M├ętis, and Inuit survivors.

Residential Schools and Reconciliation Resources

Developed by the First Nations Education Steering Committee and the First Nations Schools Association, these resource guides serve as age-appropriate educational materials allowing young students to learn about and explore the residential school system.

The Story of Orange Shirt Day

Learn about the history and vision behind Orange Shirt Day and how it can be used as an opportunity to create meaningful discussion.

Phyllis Webstad’s Story

Read Orange Shirt Day founder Phyllis Webstad’s story in her own words.

Kids can also check out CBC Games’ Indigenous Awareness & Fun Facts section to learn about Indigenous rights, the history of the powwow, Indigenous art, and more.