The TNDC team is donning orange shirts on September 30th to commemorate National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, a day that recognizes the harm inflicted on Canada’s Indigenous Peoples from the historical residential school system. To express our support, TNDC team members across project sites are wearing symbolic orange shirts in remembrance of the lost children and survivors. The shirts feature Turtle Island – an orange shirt design to honour lost children and survivors by Tahltan artist Huey Carlick with the message Every Child Matters.
National Day for Truth and Reconciliation
The National Day for Truth and Reconciliation (NDTR) was established by the Canadian government in 2021 to honour the children who never returned home and survivors of residential schools, as well as their families and communities still affected by the legacy of the residential school system. Public commemoration of the tragic and painful history and ongoing impacts of residential schools is a vital component of the reconciliation process. Establishment of a federal statutory day of commemoration was Call to Action 80 of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. NDTR builds on the grassroots momentum of Orange Shirt Day. Learn more: National Day for Truth and Reconciliation
Orange Shirt Day
Orange Shirt Day originates from the story of Phyllis Webstad from the Stswecem’c Xgat’tem First Nation. In 1973, on her first day at St. Joseph’s Residential School in Williams Lake, BC, Phyllis’s shiny new orange shirt was stripped from her, never to be seen again. Forty years later, on September 30th, 2013, Phyllis spoke publicly for the first time about her experience, beginning the Orange Shirt Day movement. On September 30th each year, people across Canada wear orange and participate in Orange Shirt Day events to recognize and raise awareness about the history and legacies of the residential school system in Canada. Learn more: Orange Shirt Day
Residential School History
Created and funded by the Canadian government and operated by churches, the goal of residential schools was to assimilate Indigenous children into society and eliminate their Indigenous knowledge and identity. First Nations, Métis and Inuit children were forcibly removed from their families and communities and put into schools where they were forced to abandon their traditions, cultural practices and languages. These schools operated for more than 160 years (1883 to 1996) in all Canadian provinces and territories except Prince Edward Island, New Brunswick and Newfoundland. It is estimated more than 150,000 Indigenous children between the ages of 4 and 16 attended residential schools where they faced horrendous physical, sexual, emotional and psychological abuse at the hands of residential school staff. Learn more: National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation
Turtle Island by Huey Carlick
Huey Carlick designed this art piece in honour of the lands of his ancestors, which is known in the Indigenous community as Turtle Island, in remembrance of the children who were harmed in the residential school system, and with the hope for a better future for all Indigenous communities. Huey’s youngest grandson’s hand was the model for this art piece. Profits from the sales of this shirt will be divided between the artist and his chosen charity, the Orange Shirt Day Society to help raise awareness across Canada about the residential schools and their continuing impacts on individuals, families and communities, and to promote the concept "Every Child Matters". Huey Carlick is an honourable, respected, and deeply loved member of the Tahltan Nation in Northern British Columbia, and a member of the Crow clan. Read his full bio and learn more: Turtle Island - by Huey Carlick
Healing and reconciliation
The TNDC team stands in solidarity with the many Tahltans and other Indigenous Peoples across Canada who attended these institutions and their families who continue to suffer from this tragic legacy. We reflect with deep sentiment and wish for healing, compassion, reconciliation, and a brighter future for Canada’s Indigenous Peoples.
Huey Carlick's Turtle Island Shirt Design
Photos of our Team: