Orange Shirt Day has become a national movement that was designed to educate Canadians and promote awareness about the residential school system and how it impacted Indigenous communities.
The movement started in 2013, and now on September 30 each year, Cochrane students, teachers and members of the business community are amongst many Canadians that wear orange in solidarity and support.
Sandra Scott, President of the Cochrane Immigrants Services Committee says that while this movement can't correct the wrongs made in history, it does symbolize that we are listening and that 'EVERY CHILD MATTERS.'
"In our history, not always were the best decisions made," says Scott. "We've had Aboriginal and Indigenous people put into residential schools, or they have not necessarily had the most positive experiences living here in Canada with Colonization."
Phyllis Webstad was one of the many residential school students who was forced to disengage from her ancestral roots, stop speaking in her native tongue and had her personal clothes and belongings taken away from her. A memory that stuck with her was having her new orange shirt taken away, which was given to her by her grandmother. The colour orange has since served as a reminder to Webstad of her experience and mistreatment.
Scott says that moving forward the colour orange can now symbolize awareness and change. She says "We wear orange shirts to recognize and to say that we are allies with residential school survivors."
Residential schools operated across Canada for more than 160 years.