Residential Schools & Reconciliation


Please browse our selection of resources and ideas to help you with understanding and planning Orange Shirt Day, the Residential School System of Canada, and much more.

Community Ceremony

A Sample Agenda

We’ve created a simple and effective sample agenda for your community event.

  • Opening prayer and drumming
  • Welcome to traditional territory by Chief
  • Welcome by Mayor, local government representative
  • Greetings from provincial government officials, School Board
  • Residential school survivor or family member speaking about residential school
  • Entertainment and/or children’s activity.

That’s it, that’s all you have to do! Keep it simple and it will be effective. You may very well have other ideas that you would like to try. Try them. You may also want to use the day as a kick off to other activities during the year. Go ahead – do that! The only thing we ask is that Phyllis’ story is part of your day.

Phyllis Webstad – On Orange Shirt Day
Canadian History & The Residential School System
Canadian History & The Residential School System
Honorable Murray Sinclair – Repercussions des pensionnats Indiens
The Vision of Kukpi7 Fred Robbins
La Vision de Kukpi7 Fred Robbins

Ideas for Children’s Activities

Simple Ideas to Engage in Reconciliation
  1. Watch any of our videos here
  2. Have a discussion about the concept “Every Child Matters.”
  3. Do some simple activities, eg. Children trace their hand, then write in the hand something they can do to help others feel like they matter.
  4. Make Attachment Hearts to share.
  5. Check out the resources listed here for more ideas!
The Legacy of Residential Schools

Orange Shirt Day

Orange Shirt Day is a legacy of the St. Joseph Mission residential school commemoration event held in Williams Lake in the spring of 2013. It grew out of Phyllis’s account of losing her shiny new orange shirt on her first day of school at the Mission, and it has become an opportunity to keep the discussion on all aspects of residential schools happening annually.

The date was chosen because children are back in school and teachers have time to plan, and because it is an opportunity to set the stage for anti-racism and anti-bullying policies for the year. Orange Shirt Day is also an opportunity for First Nations, local governments, schools and community agencies to come together in the spirit of reconciliation and hope for generations of children to come.

Click here for more history on the origin of Orange Shirt Day