For people really wanting to support the true reason behind Orange Shirt Day 2023, there are two things you need to remember. First, is the importance of educating yourself on the meaning behind Orange Shirt Day. Second, is to find authentic Indigenous brands to support.
Well, Shop First Nations is committed to reconciliation through our platform, and this has allowed us to engage with Indigenous businesses, to find out about their products and learn deeper meanings of Indigenous teachings and ways to share that knowledge.
Orange Shirt Day and How it Began
Phyllis (Jack) Webstad was 6 years old when she attended Mission Residential School.
She was so excited to go to school in her new orange t-shirt her Grandmother bought her with the little money they had. She looked at herself in the mirror and loved the lace-up front of the shirt which made her feel bright and shiny- that was until she got to school that day. At school they stripped her down and took away the orange shirt, in fact they took everything she was wearing and never gave it back. She could hear the other children crying for their parents and it seemed like nobody cared. Phyllis only went to the residential school for one year but her Mother and Grandmother had attended for 10 years each. The residential schools stripped Indigenous people of more than clothes. They stripped them of their language, culture, heritage and dignity.
Phyliss always remembered the feeling that day, feeling worthless and that nobody cared about her.
“September 30th has been declared Orange Shirt Day annually, in recognition of the harm the residential school system did to children’s sense of self-esteem and well being, and as an affirmation of our commitment to ensure that everyone around us matters.”- www.orangeshirtday.org to learn more.
Where to Buy for Orange Shirt Day 2023
There are 2 ways to get your Orange shirt. You can buy one through an official retailer or from organization’s who supporting the Orange Shirt Day Society’s causes.
Every year, the Orange Shirt Society selects a new design to represent the official Orange Shirt. For Orange Shirt Day 2023, the official retailers are:
Other Places to Buy an Orange Shirt
Is it okay to buy an Orange shirt from another retailer?
We get asked this question a lot! The answer is “yes” as long as you do some basic research. Many Indigenous and other organizations sell their own version of an Orange Shirt. The Orange Shirt Day Society encourages this so long as the proceeds are donated to an appropriate charity like the Orange Shirt Day Society, Indian Residential School Survivors Society, or similar charities supporting Indigenous youth and/or survivors. As long as a retailer is donating to such charities, then it is appropriate and encouraged to buy your Orange Shirt from them!
So let’s support an Indigenous business and buy an Orange Shirt that donates directly to support Indigenous Residential School survivors. We have made it easier for you and have made sure these are reputable companies that are doing what they say they are!
Indigenous Brands Selling Orange Shirts
1. Red Rebel Armour – Check out their Every Child Matters t-shirt here: https://redrebelarmour.ca/products/every-child-matters?variant=32035400679537
2. Spirit Bear Coffee Company– They do more than coffee. They support reconciliation through various outlets including Orange Shirt Day. Learn more here: https://spiritbearcoffeecompany.com/collections/apparel/products/every-child-matters-t-shirt
3. Colouring It Forward– This brand has various products that advance education on indigenous issues, art, language and culture through a grassroots approach. They have a beautifully designed Orange t-shirt here: https://colouringitforward.com/products/every-child-matters-orange-shirt
4. Mystical Metis: This company is 100% student owned and operated. They have a selection of beautiful products but check out their orange t-shirts here: https://www.mysticalmetis.ca/product/t-shirt-remember-every-child-matters/582
5. Hope and Health: The message is clear with these “Light the Path” orange t- shirts. Please read more or purchase your t-shirt today here: https://www.hopeandhealth.org/orange-shirt
6. Pre&Peri – where Indigenous-inspired streetwear meets artistic motifs rooted in Woodland Art, nature, traditional wisdom, and dreams. Discover their unique orange shirt featuring a child embracing hope for a brighter future, surrounded by the iconic trilliums of Ontario, inspired by Ojibway floral designs. Explore their collection and support a meaningful cause this Orange Shirt Day.
7. Métis Nation British Columbia – designed by Métis Artist Lisa Berry. The infinity symbol is safeguarded by beautiful flowers, serving as a powerful symbol of Métis children who withstood the challenges of residential schools.
Our list certainly isn’t exhaustive! What are your favourite Indigenous brands selling Orange shirts? Leave a comment below…
Wear orange on September 30th and show your support for Orange Shirt Day 2023!
Honour Orange Shirt Day Meaningfully
As we remember and reflect on the significance of Orange Shirt Day, our Summer Gift Box offers a special Orange Shirt Day pin. Wear it as a symbol of solidarity, understanding, and commitment to never forget the history and impact of the residential school system.
🔸 Why this pin?
It serves as a gentle reminder of the resilience and strength of Indigenous communities. By wearing this pin, you’re joining a collective voice that believes in acknowledging the past and moving towards a brighter, more inclusive future.