About Orange Shirt Day
Today is Orange Shirt Day, a day to “honour the children who survived the Indian residential schools and remember those who didn’t.” (reference)
Orange Shirt Day originated from Phyllis Webstad’s story of wearing a shiny new orange shirt to her first day at St. Joseph Mission residential school. When she arrived at school, her new shirt was taken away and she never saw it again. Today, we wear orange to bring awareness to the stories of children like Phyllis who attended residential school and endured violence and cultural genocide at the hands of state. We wear orange because we honour Indigenous children.
Please take some time today to listen to stories of residential school survivors. Their stories matter.
Research at SARAVYC
The team at SARAVYC is working on research to identify protective and risk factors for self-rated health and suicidality among Indigenous and Two-Spirit youth in British Columbia. Our study is based on data gathered from the 2018 British Columbia Adolescent Health Survey.
We found that Indigenous youth who participated in meaningful activities, had access to traditional foods and culture, had feelings of calm, and had family and school connectedness reported a higher positive self-rated health. We also found that family connectedness, having the ability to ask an Elder for help, feelings of calmness, and community connectedness contributed to lower suicidal behaviors among Indigenous youth.
It’s important that we bring awareness to Orange Shirt Day today and that we work every day to acknowledge and learn about health equity for Indigenous and Two-Spirit youth. There is still a lot of work to do. For more information, visit https://www.orangeshirtday.org/.
The topic of residential schools is difficult and may cause distress. Here are some resources available should you need them:
• Employee and Family Assistance Program, 1-800-387-4765 (free and confidential, 24/7).
• Indigenous Mental Health Counselling and Crisis Intervention, 1-855-242-3310.
• Indian Residential Schools Crisis Line to support residential school survivors and their families, 1-866-925-4419.
• Métis Crisis Line, 1-833-MÉTISBC.
• Crisis Centre BC: 1-800-784-2433
• Vancouver’s Access and Assessment Centre, 604-675-3700 (7:30am – 11pm).
• Mental Health and Substance Use Services, Interior Health: 250-868-7788 (11:30-9pm) or Kelowna General Hospital 250-862-4000.