Orange Shirt Society is on a quest to raise awareness on the impacts of Indian Residential Schools, and to honour the healing journey of survivors, their families, and those that never made it home. We currently host five inspiring & impactful programs that support our concept that

EVERY CHILD MATTERS

Quilts for Survivors

Many volunteer hands working throughout the year creating beautiful, heartfelt quilts for Indian Residential School Survivors. This idea originated in Ontario with Vanessa Genier’s vision as a symbol of support, respect, and love for survivors. OSS quickly jumped into action assembling quilts and blanketed over 50 survivors at our 2023 Orange Shirt Day event! Each quilt includes a special patch with Vanessa’s message, a poem “Wrapped in Love”, and an embroidered Orange Shirt Society patch. To experience the immense impact and emotion during the blanketing ceremonies is indescribable. Truly a heartfelt, meaningful program.

Orange Jersey Project

Orange Jersey Project was born out of an idea. “What if we could use the power of sport to serve as a vehicle toward educating today’s young athletes”. Orange Jersey Project is designed to encourage action for truth and reconciliation and can help educate athletes about the true history of the Indian Residential school system in Canada. Orange Jersey Project works to create awareness of the intergenerational impacts of Indian Residential Schools and strengthen the path toward truth and reconciliation with Indigenous and Non-Indigenous Peoples.

The Orange Jersey Project originated in the realm of hockey but has since broadened its scope to include lacrosse and football. Currently, we are diligently developing a new platform Learning Management System (LMS) tailored to cater to learners of all ages through the medium of sports.

The Orange Jersey Project hosted its inaugural Every Child Matters hockey game in Williams Lake, and it was an overwhelming success! This event not only united the local community but also featured two esteemed Vancouver Canucks alumni players: Kirk McLean and Darcy Rota. The memories created during this unforgettable experience will forever resonate with us. As we eagerly anticipate our next game scheduled for September, the excitement continues to build!

Every Child Matters Orange Crosswalk Project

This initiative aims to establish a space dedicated to honoring survivors and commemorating the thousands of children who never returned home. Our objective is to amplify public engagement and promote awareness surrounding Indian Residential Schools by facilitating the installation of orange “Every Child Matters” crosswalks in communities or organizations. We offer initial funding and support to launch this endeavor.

We have sponsored seven crosswalks and plan to add four more in the Lower Mainland as part of our goal to paint Canada Orange and enhance the visual landscape. This project has generated interest, discussions, and aligns with Call to Action #79, advocating for reconciliation and respecting Indigenous culture.

Funding – Seed funding to community groups in the sum of 5-10k per project.

Advisory – Assistance and support from Orange Shirt Society with mobilization, planning and engagement around the project.

Awareness – Promotion through our social media and website of Every Child Matters Crosswalk community success stories

“Survivor Voices” Speaker Series

The Orange Shirt Society is currently developing a Speaker Series featuring Indian Residential School Survivors. These survivors are poised to recount their narratives to diverse audiences, encompassing schools, communities, businesses, and organizations. The focus of these testimonials lies in the firsthand experiences and enduring repercussions of the Indian residential schools on individuals, families, and communities.

Since 2013, Phyllis Webstad has fearlessly recounted her narrative to numerous individuals, aiming to educate and heighten awareness regarding Indian Residential Schools and their enduring impacts on communities. By sharing her story extensively, she encourages communities to actively participate in the journey of reconciliation. Understanding historical events allows for a more enlightened present and future.

The interest in survivor narratives has surged, particularly in the lead-up to September 30th. The Orange Shirt Society is dedicated to fulfilling its mandate of shedding light on the enduring effects of residential schools in Canada. They underscore that the reverberations of residential schools persist in our communities, affecting multiple generations.

There has been a notable response from survivors who are keen to share their truths as a part of their healing journey. This series not only showcases survivors but also involves Sixties Scoop, intergenerational survivors, and millennial survivors. The initiative is structured to be supervised by indigenous counselors and carried out with expert choreography for a refined video production. For these survivors, recounting their experiences is a therapeutic journey that empowers them to express their narratives and contribute to the process of reconciliation.

Awareness & Art

By combining art with education we are taking interactive learning to a very LARGE scale. Brought to creation with the help of artist, Bonny Hill, and her “Phyllis” project, shown here with students in New Brunswick, in the Fall of 2023.

Students learn about the impacts of Indian Residential Schools, the concept “Every Child Matters”, and the power of one. If each student can do a small 6″x6″ piece then come together as a group assembling a massive temporary art installation, then imagine the power we can all have on Truth & Reconciliation of the Indian Residential Schools.

In addition to the educational awareness, by using re-purposed cardboard waste for the individual tiles, the students are also participating in environmental impact awareness.