Orange Shirt Day ... Every Child Matters

September 30th is Orange Shirt Day

Orange Shirt Day is “an opportunity for First Nations, local governments, schools and communities to come together in the spirit of reconciliation and hope for generations of children to come.” –

September 30th is a day when students wear orange shirts to school in order to recognize the history of residential schools, the pain of their legacy, and as an act of reconciliation.  

The idea to wear orange was inspired by Phyllis (Jack) Webstad, a former student at the St. Joseph Mission Residential School in Williams Lake, BC, and her story of how, at six-years old on her first day at residential school, her shiny new orange shirt (bought for her by her granny) was taken from her, never to be seen again: “The color orange has always reminded me of that and how my feelings didn’t matter, how no one cared and how I felt like I was worth nothing.” Read more about Phyllis’ story here.

Something We Are Doing…

As part of our efforts to support the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada’s Calls to Action, Second Story Press will be partnering with selected language speakers and educators from Nipissing First Nation through a mentorship initiative to translate the award-winning children’s picture book I Am Not a Number, written by Jenny Kay Dupuis and Kathy Kacer and illustrated by Gillian Newland, from English into Anishnaabemwin.

The story is based on the life of co-author Jenny Kay Dupuis’ grandmother, Irene Couchie, who was removed from her First Nation’s family to live in a residential school in Spanish, Ontario where she was prohibited from speaking her traditional language and practicing her culture. 

The initiative was first proposed by the book’s co-author Jenny Kay Dupuis as a way to take action on a more local level through a community-based approach to language revitalization. The hope is that a translation project like this will help to widen the world of children’s literature to welcome Indigenous language speakers and advance community relationships.

Plans are also underway to translate the award-wining picture book The Water Walker, written and illustrated by Joanne Robertson, into Anishnaabemwin. The Water Walker tells the story of the treasured Anishnaabe water walker, Nokomis Josephine Mandamin.

Stay Tuned for updates on these translations…

Emma Rodgers