Guest Post: Orange Shirt Day

To inspire your Orange Shirt Day learning, our friend Dana has shared some different challenges using a theme of Listen, Learn & Respond… These are suggestions primarily for youth and young adults, but there are many of them which can be adapted for children.

(Colour Code: Green=Easy, Yellow= Moderate Challenge, Purple= Most Challenging)

At Church…

LISTEN: Watch Phyllis’ story with the Sanctuary lights off. (YouTube)

LEARN: Read out one of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada: 94 Calls to Action each Sunday as part of the service.

RESPOND: Give a cut-out orange heart to each person as they arrive, ask the congregation to write down one word or sentence that stood out for them when LISTENING. Collect the hearts and attach them on a string around the sanctuary, encircling the congregation. In the future, collect the hearts and in include them on the alter in a special container.


LISTEN: Ask a child or youth to read Phyllis’s story to the congregation.  Live or Pre Recorded.

LEARN: Use one or more of the TRC Calls to Action as a sermon focus.  Each Sunday, light an orange candle along with the peace candle on the alter.

RESPOND: Write letters to your elected officials asking them to support the 94 Calls to Action


LISTEN: Invite Kairos to come and lead your congregation in the Blanket Exercise.

LEARN: Set-up multi generational learning circles and invite the community.  Reflect on what Calls to Action have been implemented and what hasn’t.

RESPOND: Contact an Indigenous Friendship or Cultural Centre and ask how the church can support their work.  Be a leader and share the information with your community, encourage others to get involved.


And at home….

LISTEN: Watch Phyllis’ story on YouTube.

LEARN: If you have school aged children/youth in your life ask them what is a happening in their class about Orange Shirt Day, email the school if you have ideas of how to start something new! If not, research opportunities in your community to support orange shirt day.

RESPOND: Show your support by putting an orange heart in your window, making a lawn sign, wearing orange, tying ribbons to tree branches.


LISTEN: Check out the National Film Board’s collection of film clips and testimony of residential school survivors.

LEARN: Check your local libraries for books about Residential schools, if your local library doesn’t have any, send an email asking for some additions to their collection. We have some of our favourites here.

RESPOND: Create a social media video showing your support wearing something orange. Write a letter to your MP & MPP showing your supporting.  


LISTEN: Watch the Documentary “We were Children”.

LEARN: Research and attend a community event for Orange Shirt Day.  Make a social media post supporting it.  Use the #UCCAN hashtag!

RESPOND: Create Orange Shirt Day materials and plan an Orange Shirt Day event for friends and neighbours to help them show their support.  Share resources to make window and lawn signs, orange ribbon lapel pins, or decorate orange shirts.


Dana Ducette is the Minister for Youth and Young Adults in Eastern Ontario Outaouais Regional Council (EOORC).

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