September 30, 2016 at 8:00 am Leave a comment

Phyllis Webstad, a member of the Stswecem’c Xgat’tem First Nation in British Columbia, was forced to attend St. Joseph’s Mission Residential School, as her relatives before her.  She entered the school in 1973 wearing a brand new orange shirt which was immediately confiscated by the staff and replaced with a uniform.  She never saw the shirt again, and began to associate the colour with the traumatic experiences in the school and the loss of language and cultural identity she suffered.

In 2013, Webstad transformed her negative experiences into something positive by creating a nationally recognized Orange Shirt Day.  Celebrated annually on September 30th, this day acknowledges the residential school system in Canada, honours those who survived, and remembers those who did not.  It is a day to demonstrate, by wearing orange, that all students matter.

The Professional Library has created a resource list on Residential Schools  available to TDSB teachers as a Google document – remember to login with your TDSB account.

To get you started, here are some web sites:

British Columbia. First Nations Education Steering Committee and First Nations School Association. (2015).  Indian residential schools and reconciliation  resources. Teachers’ guides for  Grade 5 (PDF), Grade 10 (PDF), and Grades 11/12 (Book 1; Book 2).

Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada. (2016). Indian Residential Schools. Retrieved from

Legacy of Hope Foundation. Exhibitions including 100 Years of Loss: the Residential School System in Canada.

Library and Archives Canada. (2015). Residential Schools: Photographic Collections.  Retrieved from

Secret Path. (2016).  Retrieved from .

  • Story of Chanie Wenjack, residential school student who died running away from a residential school.
  • Graphic novel and illustrations by Jeff Lemire
  • Songs by Gord Downie with Kevin Drew and Dave Hamlin

Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada.

 University of British Columbia. First Nations and  Indigenous Studies. (2009). The residential school system. Retrieved from

Check ’em out! Rowan





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