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Orange Shirt Day

UVic is committed to reconciliation. We're working to foster respect and mutual understanding with all Indigenous peoples and communities. You can partner in the work of reconciliation by listening, learning and sharing on Orange Shirt Day.

The 2020 event

UVic hosted a virtual event on Sept. 30, 2020, featuring a conversation between UVic Chancellor Shelagh Rogers and Phyllis Webstad, whose story sparked the drive to recognize Orange Shirt Day, as well as a welcome to the territory and blessing by Elders, a cultural performance, a reflection by UVic student Lisa Kenoras, a film trailer for Carey Newman’s Picking up the Pieces: the Making of the Witness Blanket and comments from UVic Vice-President Academic and Provost Valerie Kuehne. Watch the recording below.

UVic faculty, staff and students wore an orange shirt as a visual symbol of our awareness of the need for ongoing reconciliation.

 

 

Past UVic events

More Indigenous stories

The UVic orange t-shirt

UVic orange t-shirt design
UVic orange t-shirt design. Artist: Carey Newman (Kwakwaka'wakw/Coast Salish)

The design for the UVic orange t-shirt was created by Carey Newman Hayalthkin’geme (Kwakwaka'wakw/Coast Salish), Audain Professor of Contemporary Art Practice of the Pacific Northwest.

Proceeds from t-shirt sales support the Elders Engagement Fund and the Witness Blanket Project. If you already have an orange shirt, please consider making a $20 donation directly to the Elders Engagement Fund this year.

Support meaningful engagement with Elders

The university has established the ITOTELNEW̱TEL ȽTE: LEARNING FROM ONE ANOTHER Fund (Elders' engagement fund). It provides meaningful engagement with Elders and opportunities for learning Indigenous ways of knowing for students, faculty and staff.

What is Orange Shirt Day?

Orange Shirt Day is a national movement in Canada. In this annual event, Indigenous and non-Indigenous people come together in the spirit of hope and reconciliation to honour former residential school students, their families and communities. We consider the impacts of the policies and actions of the Government of Canada and the churches that operated the schools.

Orange Shirt Day began in Williams Lake, BC in 2013 at the St. Joseph Mission (SJM) residential school commemoration event at which survivor Phyllis Webstad told the story of her shiny new orange shirt taken away from her on her first day of school at the Mission.

Orange Shirt Day occurs in early Fall because this is the time of year when children were removed from their families and forced to attend residential schools. The day inspires Canadians to take part in anti-racism and anti-bullying initiatives at school and work.

The residential school era began in the early 1870’s, with the last school closing in 1996. More than 150,000 Indigenous, Métis and Inuit children attended these schools. There are an estimated 80,000 survivors living today.

Support and resources

If you find that you need emotional support after engaging with Orange Shirt Day material, there are some services available.

Gerry Ambers (ʼNa̱mǥis / Kwakwaka'wakw), Elder-in-Residence at the First Peoples House, offers viewers several ways to stay calm and grounded in these challenging times. Produced by the Office of Indigenous Academic and Community Engagement at UVic.

SupportConnect
SupportConnect is a free, confidential mental health support service for UVic students. You can connect with qualified counsellors, consultants and life coaches by phone or online 24/7. Video or in-person options are available.
Toll-free (calls from North America): 1-844-773-1427
International collect calls: 1-250-999-7621

UVic Counselling Services 
Located in the new Student Wellness Centre at 2300 McKenzie across the street from the CARSA gym. Counselling sessions for UVic students can be booked by calling the number above. Indigenous counsellors are available.
250-721-8563 

Here2Talk
Connects students with mental health support when they need it. Through this program, all students currently registered in a B.C. post-secondary institution have access to free, confidential counselling and community referral services, conveniently available 24/7 via app, phone and web.

The Vancouver Island Crisis Line
24-hour crisis line service to Vancouver Island, the islands of the Georgia Strait, and the mainland communities between Powell River and Rivers Inlet, as defined by Island Health. It operates 365 days a year. Crisis workers provide short-term nonjudgemental emotional, support, crisis intervention, information and resources.
1-888-494-3888

KUU-US Crisis Line Society
The KUU-US Crisis Line Society operates a 24 hour provincial aboriginal crisis line for adults/Elders and youth.
Adults/Elders: 250-723-4050
Child/Youth: 250-723-2040
Toll Free Line: 1-800-588-8717

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