September 30th is recognized as Orange Shirt Day, also called the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation. Beginning here in British Columbia, Orange Shirt Day aims for us to “honour and uphold Survivors and intergenerational Survivors of the Indian residential school system, and to commemorate those who didn’t return home” (UBC, n.d., para. 1). The meaning of Orange Shirt Day comes from the lived experience of Phyllis (Jack) Webstad, who attended the St. Joseph Mission Residential School, and whose new orange shirt was taken from her on her first day (para. 2, n.d.). To read Phyllis’ full telling of her story, visit https://www.orangeshirtday.org/phyllis-story.html.
Observing Orange Shirt Day gives us a dedicated day to address settler-colonialism and its continuing legacy, and the momentum from this day should continue all year long. The Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada (TRC) Calls to Action (2015) give many ways institutions can begin to address the legacy of residential schools.
Indigitization is focused on the maintenance and preservation of Indigenous knowledge by and for Indigenous people and communities. This work directly implements the TRC Call to Action 14.iv: “The preservation, revitalization, and strengthening of Aboriginal languages and cultures are best managed by Aboriginal people and communities” (p. 2). By working with Indigenous communities to provide resources and support in how to best manage each community’s information, history, and knowledge, Indigitization is dedicated Indigenous cultural stewardship, today and every day.
(Jack) Webstad, P. (n.d.). Phyllis’ story. Orange Shirt Day. Retrieved September 29, 2022, from https://www.orangeshirtday.org/phyllis-story.html
The University of British Columbia. (n.d.). Orange Shirt Day at UBC. Indian Residential School History and Dialogue Centre. Retrieved September 29, 2022, from https://irshdc.ubc.ca/orange-shirt-day/
Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada. (2015). Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada: Calls to Action. Retrieved from the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation website: https://nctr.ca/records/reports/#trc-reports