You must have noticed many students wearing orange T-shirts and accessories on Friday, September 30th. While some of you knew what it meant, others couldn’t understand the reason behind this ‘orange’ day.


Between 1831 and 1998 approximately 150 000 First Nations, Métis and Inuit children were taken away from their families and they were forced to attend residential schools. The Canadian government and the Catholic Church ran these schools designed to strip them of their language and culture. Between 4000 and 6000 children died because of abuse and harsh living conditions in these facilities.


Orange shirt day was inspired by the story of a residential school survivor Phyllis Webstad. When she was 6 years old, her grandmother gave her an orange t-shirt. On her first day of school Phyllis chose to wear this shirt as the color was so bright and exciting- just like she felt to be going to school. Little did she know that the officials would take her clothes away and cut her hair. Phyllis never saw her orange t-shirt again. She says this color reminds her that her feelings didn’t matter at the boarding school.



A famous Mi’kmaw poet Rita Joe wrote a poem to express the pain and suffering she experienced when she attended the residential school in Nova Scotia.

I lost my talk The talk you took away.

When I was a little girl At Shubenacadie school.

You snatched it away: I speak like you I think like you I create like you The scrambled ballad, about my word. Two ways I talk Both ways I say, Your way is more powerful. So gently I offer my hand and ask, Let me find my talk So I can teach you about me.

It is important to remember our history even if we wish we could forget it.


Le poème ‘I lost my talk’ récité par Marie-Noelle Dufour (sec 5 PEI)


By Serena Berny Deutcheu Moutcheu, group 1-75

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