Phyllis Webstad, whose orange shirt was taken away when she attended Residential School in the 1970s, started the Orange Shirt movement by sharing her story. Since 2013, the Orange Shirt Society has raised awareness of the impacts of Residential Schools and the work Survivors and their families do to heal Indigenous communities. September 30 has been declared the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation and recognized as Orange Shirt Day to honour Residential School Survivors, their communities, and the children who never came home.
In honour of Orange Shirt Day, RRC Polytech has partnered with Ininew artist and alumna Leticia Spence to create an original Orange Shirt design and with Red Rebel Armour, owned and operated by alumnus Sean Rayland-Boubar, to produce the Orange Shirts.
The design features a tree made up of florals, Medicines and roots. Hummingbirds flank the tree, surrounded by rosehips, rosebuds and berries. First Nations, the Métis Nation, and the Inuit Nation are represented by symbols deeply intertwined with each nation: the cardinal directions, a wild rose forming an infinity, and fireweed flowers.
“I want whoever is wearing this t-shirt to feel a sense of hope and strength as they honour those who are currently being found while knowing that it’s okay to create space to honour themselves as either direct residential school survivors or intergenerational residential school survivors.”Leticia Spence, Artist – Graphic Design 2019
The Orange Shirts will be available through the Campus Store and all proceeds from Orange Shirt sales go to the Mínwastánikéwin Truth and Reconciliation Award when applications open in January 2024.
Show your support for Truth and Reconciliation by wearing the RRC Polytech Orange Shirt on Friday, September 29 on campus.