This Saturday September 30, 2023 marks the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, also known as Orange Shirt Day.
At the age of 6, Phyllis (Jack) Webstad’s orange shirt, gifted by her grandmother, was taken from her as she entered her first day at St. Joseph’s Mission Residential School in British Columbia. Orange Shirt Day was created by Webstad with the intention of raising awareness of the individual, family, and community inter-generational impacts of residential schools and to promote the concept of “Every Child Matters.” This day prompts reflection on the mistreatment of Indigenous communities and honours the children who never returned home, survivors of residential schools, and their families and communities.
We have rounded up some UTP books in Indigenous Studies that you can access for free, educational and support resources, details about Orange Shirt Day events through the University of Toronto, and some information on how to purchase orange shirts.
Open Access Books
By Jane Griffith
For nearly 100 years, Indian boarding schools in Canada and the US produced newspapers read by white settlers, government officials, and Indigenous parents. These newspapers were used as a settler colonial tool, yet within these tightly controlled narratives there also existed sites of resistance. This book traces colonial narratives of language, time, and place from the nineteenth-century to the present day, post-Truth and Reconciliation Commission.
By Cheryl Suzack
In Indigenous Women’s Writing and the Cultural Study of Law, Cheryl Suzack explores Indigenous women’s writing in the post-civil rights period through close-reading analysis of major texts by Leslie Marmon Silko, Beatrice Culleton Mosionier, Louise Erdrich, and Winona LaDuke. Working within a transnational framework that compares multiple tribal national contexts and U.S.-Canadian settler colonialism, Suzack sheds light on how these Indigenous writers use storytelling to engage in social justice activism by contesting discriminatory tribal membership codes, critiquing the dispossession of Indigenous women from their children, challenging dehumanizing blood quantum codes, and protesting colonial forms of land dispossession.
Orange T-Shirts at the University of Toronto
In recognition of Orange Shirt Day 2023 and the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, the Office of Indigenous Initiatives has again partnered with the UofT Bookstore to produce a limited supply of orange t-shirts.
This year’s shirt features artwork by MJ Singleton, the winner of a tri-campus design contest. MJ is an Ojibwe, two-spirit student from Migisi Sahgaigan First Nation who is currently studying at the University of Toronto’s Mississauga campus. Their design, titled noojimo’iwe, emphasizes the importance of healing the intergenerational trauma of residential schooling by supporting and loving those around you.
$10 from the sale of each shirt will be directed to the Orange Shirt Society. No proceeds will be collected by the UofT Bookstore or the University.