Support Indigenous Peoples
Phyllis’ Story: the original orange shirt
I went to the Mission for one school year in 1973/1974. I had just turned 6 years old. I lived with my grandmother on the Dog Creek reserve. We never had very much money, but somehow my granny managed to buy me a new outfit to go to the Mission school. I remember going to Robinson’s store and picking out a shiny orange shirt. It had string laced up in front, and was so bright and exciting – just like I felt to be going to school!
When I got to the Mission, they stripped me, and took away my clothes, including the orange shirt! I never wore it again. I didn’t understand why they wouldn’t give it back to me, it was mine! 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. All of us little children were crying and no one cared.
I was 13 years old and in grade 8 when my son Jeremy was born. Because my grandmother and mother both attended residential school for 10 years each, I never knew what a parent was supposed to be like. With the help of my aunt, Agness Jack, I was able to raise my son and have him know me as his mother.
I went to a treatment centre for healing when I was 27 and have been on this healing journey since then. I finally get it, that the feeling of worthlessness and insignificance, ingrained in me from my first day at the mission, affected the way I lived my life for many years. Even now, when I know nothing could be further than the truth, I still sometimes feel that I don’t matter. Even with all the work I’ve done!
I am honored to be able to tell my story so that others may benefit and understand, and maybe other survivors will feel comfortable enough to share their stories.
Story told by Phyllis (Jack) Webstad
(There are so many books to discover. These are just a few that I will start with. I hope you add more to your own reading list. ~ Sadie)
The Orange Shirt Story by Phyllis Jack Webstad
Phyllis’s Orange Shirt by Phyllis Jack Webstad (for younger kids)
The Inconvenient Indian by Thomas King
The Seed Keeper by Diane Wilson
Five Little Indians by Michelle Good
The Strangers by Katherena Vermette
Daughters of the Deer by Danielle Daniel
The Sentence by Louise Erdrich
Split Tooth by Tanya Tagaq
The Marrow Thieves by Cherie Dimaline
21 Things You May Not Know About the Indian Act by Bob Joseph
Indigenous Awareness Resources:
(This list was compiled by Sadie of Topsail Canvas. It is just a start to my learning. Please continue by adding your own resources.)
Orange Shirt Society
Every Child Matters. September 30th is Orange Shirt Day to witness and honour the healing journey of the survivors and their families, and to commit to the ongoing process of reconciliation. Why Orange? Because of a story told by Phyllis, a residential school survivor, who wore a bright shiny new orange shirt to her first day at residential school at age 6, but then it was taken from her, along with everything else connecting her to her family and heritage.
On Canada Project
Bridging communities through compassionate conversations. A grassroots Initiative turned Social Enterprise, focused on mobilizing Millennials and Gen Z. We harness the combined potential of young people, volunteerism, and social media to broadly disseminate credible information that is critical, conversational, and compassionate.
Future Ancestors Services Inc.
An Indigenous and Black-owned, youth-led professional services enterprise that advances climate justice and systemic barrier removal with lenses of anti-racism and ancestral accountability.
Indian Residential School Survivors Society
Working for over 25 years, this group has provided essential services to Residential School Survivors, their families, and those dealing with Intergenerational traumas.
National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation
The NCTR is a place of learning and dialogue where the truths of Residential School Survivors, families and communities are honoured and kept safe for future generations. This is where you will find a copy of the report: Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada – Calls to Action.
Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs Canada
The Government of Canada recognizes First Nations, Inuit and Metis as the Indigenous Peoples of Canada, with unique cultures, traditions, communities and histories.
Find resources to help you explore the history, languages, cultures, and experiences of Indigenous Peoples across Canada by clicking through the menus for: - Indigenous Peoples and Communities - Indigenous Arts, Culture, and Heritage - Begin your learning journey. www.rcaanc-cirnac.gc.ca/eng/1621447127773/1621447157184
Indigenous Corporate Training Inc.
Learning how to live, work and communicate effectively and respectively with Indigenous Peoples.
University of Ottawa Gazette
10 resources for teaching and learning about Indigenous History.
Animikii – Indigenous Innovation
An Indigenous technology company with an expert team across a number of digital spaces, including web design and software development. It is important to start every project from a place of meaning and respect.
Joint Economic Development Initiative
Fostering Indigenous economic development in New Brunswick, JEDI provides its clients with a variety of Indigenous business and development services.
Peskotomuhkati First Nation (Passamaquoddy)
Local Indigenous Peoples in southwest New Brunswick.
An Indigenous national charity that invests in the education of First Nations, Inuit and Métis people for the long-term benefit of these individuals, their families and communities, and Canada.
True North Aid
Committed to serving northern communities in Canada with practical humanitarian support.
First Nations Child & Family Caring Society
The Caring Society stands with First Nations children, youth, and families so they have equitable opportunities to grow up safely at home, be healthy, get a good education and be proud of who they are.
We actively engage multi-faith and multi-cultural communities to explore the meaning of reconciliation. Together, we are charting a New Way Forward.
Gord Downie & Chanie Wenjack Fund
To improve the lives of Indigenous people by building awareness, education, and connections between all peoples in Canada. Reconciliation begins with you. #DoSomething
Legacy of Hope Foundation
We are a national Indigenous charitable organization with the mandate to educate and create awareness and understanding about the Residential School System, including the intergenerational impacts such as the removal of generations of Indigenous children from their families, including the Sixties Scoop, the post-traumatic stress disorders that many First Nations, Inuit, and Metis continue to experience, all while trying to address racism, foster empathy and understanding and inspire action to improve the situation of Indigenous Peoples today. The LHF supports the ongoing healing process of Residential School Survivors, and their families and seeks their input on projects that honour them.
Support Indigenous Arts and Culture
Donate via CanadaHelps.org Choose the category ARTS & CULTURE, then search INDIGENOUS, to explore your options.
National Association of Friendship Centres
A network of over 100 Friendship Centres and Provincial/Territorial Associations. Find out where your local Friendship Centre or Provincial/Territorial Association is located and consider providing your time, resources or making a donation to support them in continuing to provide crucial front-line work across Canada!