Indigenous Studies - Drumming in park

Orange Shirt Day 2022 at Camosun

Orange Shirt Day will be commemorated at Camosun on Thursday, Sept. 29, 2022 with a ceremony at Na’tsa’maht. The open-sided structure inspired by Coast Salish designs, and designed by lək̓ʷəŋən artist Butch Dick, will host this year’s event.

An orange shirt printed with the words "every child matters"

Camosun encourages students to wear an orange shirt on Sept. 29 and 30, and to take the time to learn and reflect as an act of reconciliation.

“Orange Shirt Day is an important day to honour Indian residential school survivors, as well as those who didn’t survive or died, often, young and tragically as a result of the horrors they experienced in these schools,” says Ruth Lyall, Chair of Indigenous programs at Eye? Sqa’lewen: The Centre for Indigenous Education & Community Connections (IECC) and Orange Shirt Day spokesperson.

Elder Dr. Barney Williams, Nuu-chah-nulth Nation from the Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation, will be emceeing the gathering. Hosted by Eye? Sqa’lewen, the event will include invited guests from Quilts for Survivors, a poetry reading by Beth Mills, as well as drumming and music.

“After the TRC Calls to Action came out in 2015, Camosun College developed an Indigenization & Reconciliation Task Force (IRTF) with broad membership of Indigenous and non-Indigenous employees at the college,” says Lyall, who explains that the group is now moving forward with the second phase of the project by establishing further action items in supporting truth and reconciliation at the college. “We do so with a commitment for justice, and with love and admiration for the incredible resilience of Indigenous peoples.”

Selected residential school Survivors will be honoured with the gift of a hand-made quilt from the Quilts for Survivors. Recipients will include local Elders Butch Dick, Skip Dick, Victor Underwood, and May Sam, among others.

Started by an Indigenous mother from Missianbie First Nation in Ontario, Quilts for Survivors assembles and distributes blankets through the work of volunteer quilters across Canada. The hand-made quilts are then gifted to survivors of the Indian residential school system, children in foster care, family members of Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls, 60s Scoop survivors and other survivors of trauma.

“Orange Shirt Day is an opportunity for the college community to come together in the spirit of reconciliation,” says Lane Trotter, President of Camosun College. “I’m honoured to be a witness to this year’s event, and will use it as an opportunity to listen and reflect on how to continue on our path towards greater Indigenization.”

Orange Shirt Day is inspired by Phyllis Webstad’s story of her experience of having her new orange shirt taken from her in 1974 when she arrived at St. Mary’s Indian residential school in Mission, BC. Indigenous Studies students Eddy Charlie and Kirsten Spray brought the event to Camosun and initiated Victoria Orange Shirt Day in 2015, and they will both be returning as guest speakers at this year’s ceremony.

An update on the first phase of Camosun College’s response to 39 action items from the Indigenization and Reconciliation Task Force is here.

Camosun encourages students to wear an orange shirt on Sept. 29 and 30, and to take the time to learn and reflect as an act of reconciliation. To learn more about survivor’s stories and Indigenous perspectives, the Library has assembled an updated Orange Shirt Day research guide for 2022 with book and other media recommendations.


Na’tsa’maht: The Gathering Place, Lansdowne campus

Students, community members, and media are invited to witness and participate in this significant ceremony remembering the residential school experience.

1:00 p.m.: Gather at Na'tsa'maht

1:30 p.m. – 3:00 p.m.: Presentation by the Quilters for Survivors. Coffee, tea, and snacks to follow. Guest speakers Eddy Charlie and Kristin Spray.


Contact information

Katie McGroarty

Marketing/ Communications Strategist

Camosun College


Ruth Lyall

Chair, Indigenous Program

Eye? Sqa’lewen: The Centre for Indigenous Education & Community Connections (IECC)