Canada’s First National Day for Truth and Reconciliation (also known as Orange Shirt Day)

September 30, 2021 all-day

Canada’s first National Day for Truth and Reconciliation is September 30, 2021. It was established this year by the Federal Government to provide an opportunity to recognize and commemorate the tragic history and ongoing legacy of residential schools which more than 150,000 First Nations, Metis and Inuit children were forced to attend between the 1870s and 1997. September 30 is also known as Orange Shirt Day, a nation-wide movement rooted in the story of Phyllis Webstad who, in 1973, at the age of six, went to the St. Joseph Mission Residential School.  In preparation for school, Phyllis’ Grandmother, despite limited means, purchased the shiny orange shirt Phyllis coveted and was so excited to wear to school.  At school, she was stripped of the shirt forever and left to feel like no one cared.

U of T Engineering is committed to truth and reconciliation with Indigenous Peoples.  We encourage everyone to participate in their own way on September 30: by wearing an orange shirt, taking a moment of reflection, discussing this day in class, using an Orange Shirt Day virtual background, or finding some other way to demonstrate your support for reconciliation and healing.

You can access further supports from Professor Jason Bazylak, Dean’s Advisor on Indigenous Initiatives or Marisa Sterling, Assistant Dean and Director for the Office of Diversity, Inclusion and Professionalism.  This summer FASE also launched the Indigenous Cultural Competency Toolkit, co-developed with an Indigenous engineering student to help the Faculty learn the truths.