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Orange Shirt Day 2022

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Honour the experiences of residential school survivors by joining a University-wide event to recognize Orange Shirt Day and National Day for Truth and Reconciliation. Students, librarians, faculty and staff may register to attend this event in-person or watch the livestream.

The University of Toronto will commemorate this day of recognition with remarks from Kelly Hannah-Moffat, Vice-President, People Strategy, Equity & Culture, and Alexandra Gillespie, Vice-President & Principal, University of Toronto Mississauga, in The Great Hall at Hart House. Brenda Wastasecoot, Assistant Professor at the Centre for Indigenous Studies, will provide the keynote address: “The Nikis Story is the Story of Canada: Reflecting on the Impacts of the Indian Residential Schools.”

We regret to announce that Andrew Wesley is no longer able to attend.

For more information, please visit the event page:

Attend in Person:

You can register to attend in person here.

Please note: Registration does not guarantee admittance. Space is available on a first-come, first-served basis. Overflow seating is available in The Music Room at Hart House.

Watch Online:

The event will also be livestreamed, and can be viewed via this link.

Other Ways to Participate

Wear an Orange Shirt Day Shirt:

All members of the University community—and Canadians nationwide—are encouraged to wear an orange shirt on September 30 in the spirit of reconciliation. Doing so affirms that “Every Child Matters.”

The University of Toronto Bookstore, in partnership with the Office of Indigenous Initiatives, will have a limited supply of Orange Shirt Day shirts available for purchase.

All proceeds from the sales of the shirts are being directed to Indigenous community organizations—no proceeds will go to the U of T Bookstore or the University of Toronto.

Participate virtually:

We also invite and encourage all U of T community members to use the Orange Shirt Day icon as their profile photo and use the virtual backdrop (available for download below) on Teams or Zoom calls the week of September 26

Keynote Speaker: Brenda Wastasecoot
Keynote Speaker: Brenda WastasecootAssistant Professor at the Centre for Indigenous Studies
Brenda Wastasecoot from Churchill, Manitoba revisits and teaches from her childhood memories of being a Cree girl of 1960’s Canada. Teaching in the Centre for Indigenous Studies, and leading Indigenous Teaching & Learning at the University of Toronto holds a unique opportunity to teach the teachers in the Faculty of Arts and Science. Dr. Wastasecoot aims to support and encourage the teaching of Indigenous truths in order to create a better, more equal future for both Indigenous and non-Indigenous scholars. She utilizes arts based and arts informed methods with students from all backgrounds in her courses here at the University of Toronto.

She plans to write another children’s book, as a follow up from her first one titled: Granny’s Giant Bannock, which will focus more directly on Cree language for early learners. Brenda is the youngest and the only child in her family who did not attend residential school. She devoted her doctoral studies to telling of the story of Nikis (my little house) which recounts the impacts of residential school policy on her family. Besides teaching, she is the proud grandmother of four-year-old Emerson. They go on many long walks through High Park.


The Story of Phyllis Webstad

Orange Shirt Day is based on the story of Phyllis Webstad, who in 1973, entered the St. Joseph Mission Residential School at the age of six. She was stripped of the orange shirt she was wearing and forced to wear the institutional uniform.

September 30 was chosen to mark the date when trucks and buses would arrive in communities to take children to residential schools. These schools operated in Canada between 1831 and 1996.

Learn more:

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