Orange t-shirt designed by Ojibwe artist now available through Rogers to help grow awareness of impact of residential schools
TORONTO, August 7, 2020 – Rogers Communications today launched a fundraising campaign to support the Orange Shirt Society, which aims to educate Canadians on the history and impact of our country’s residential school system and advocate for action on reconciliation. Starting today, ahead of World Indigenous Peoples’ Day this Sunday, a special orange t-shirt designed by Ojibwe artist Patrick Hunter will be showcased across Rogers-owned media assets including TSC (Today’s Shopping Choice) and available at tsc.ca/wewearorange, with proceeds from sales going to the organization’s ongoing efforts to expand Indigenous education across Canada.
Commissioned by Rogers, the orange t-shirt designed by Hunter was unveiled in June in honour of National Indigenous Peoples’ Day. Now, as we step towards Orange Shirt Day on September 30, the shirt available to Canadians is a tribute to the lives affected and lost through the residential school system, which saw more than 150,000 Indigenous youth sent away from their parents beginning in the 19th century. The last school closed in 1996.
“In most of the Indigenous communities in Canada, receiving an eagle feather is an honour that comes after going above and beyond in service to your community or recognition of personal growth.” said Hunter. “I chose 11 feathers to honour the 4 directions because the residential school system stretched in every direction on Turtle Island, and the 7 Grandfather teachings (Love, Respect, Bravery, Truth, Honesty, Humility, and Wisdom), all arranged in the shape of a sunrise. Everyday is a gift. Every Child Matters is about honouring the victims of residential schools. Not just the people that survived the horrors and lived to talk about it, but also the thousands that were silenced forever. They are not forgotten and we can remember them each new day as the sun rises.”
Canada’s history of the residential schools and the trauma it has left behind for generations of Indigenous Peoples across the country is still very much a reality. Survivors and their families continue their healing today, including author Phyllis Webstad who was sent to a residential school in 1973 when she was 6 years old. Her personal experience inspired Orange Shirt Day.
“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. When I got to the Mission, they stripped me, and took away my clothes, including the orange shirt! I never wore it again. The colour 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,” said Webstad, Executive Director of the Orange Shirt Society. “I 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.”
As we approach Orange Shirt Day on September 30 with stories of survivors top of mind, Rogers is committed to continuing to support Indigenous communities and employees across Canada as part of ongoing efforts to build a more inclusive future for all Canadians.
“Orange Shirt Day is an opportunity for our team and all Canadians to come together to recognize this important part of our current history, and to share hope for the future. The steps we are taking now to support the Indigenous community, collaborating with Patrick Hunter and Orange Shirt Society, are part of our inclusion and diversity journey as an organization,” said Kim Barrington, Chair, Indigenous Peoples’ Network, Rogers Communications. “The more we can continue to tell stories and connect people to the history and culture of Indigenous Peoples, the further we will go on our path forward.”
Canadians can support the Orange Shirt Society’s educational programming by purchasing a Rogers-commissioned t-shirt in time for Orange Shirt Day on September 30 through TSC at tsc.ca/wewearorange. For more on Inclusion and Diversity at Rogers, visit AboutRogers.com.
Rogers is a proud Canadian company dedicated to making more possible for Canadians each and every day. Our founder, Ted Rogers, purchased his first radio station, CHFI, in 1960. We have grown to become a leading technology and media company that strives to provide the very best in wireless, residential, sports, and media to Canadians and Canadian businesses. Our shares are publicly traded on the Toronto Stock Exchange (TSX: RCI.A and RCI.B) and on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE: RCI). If you want to find out more about us, visit about.rogers.com.