Fostering awareness, understanding, and action
September 21, 2023
In recognition of the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, students at the Tricolour Outlet have been readying to help the campus community show solidarity in orange. Together with Queen’s staff and local Cree artist Jaylene Cardinal, they have prepared an orange t-shirt design that are on sale now until Oct. 2, with a portion of proceeds set to support the Orange Shirt Society, an Indigenous-led organization dedicated to educating people in Canada about the legacy of residential schools and supporting survivors.
“Wearing an orange shirt is an act of solidarity with Indigenous people and communities impacted by Canada’s residential school system, and an outward show of support for survivors and families of those taken too soon,” says Deanna Fialho, Director, Yellow House Student Centre for Equity & Inclusion, co-chair of the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation Working Group. “We’re pleased to collaborate with students at the Tricolour Outlet and Jaylene Cardinal to create a unique and impactful orange t-shirt design that I hope inspires meaningful discussion about the effects of Residential Schools and the legacy they have left behind. Donating a portion of these sales to support the impactful community work happening through the Orange Shirt Society is a special and new aspect of our work this year. Reconciliation will take all of us working together to foster awareness, understanding, and action. Creating the orange shirts collaboratively is an expression of this spirit.”
The orange shirts feature an image created by local Cree artist Jaylene Cardinal. It depicts a pair of children’s moccasins set between woodland forget-me-not flowers.
“Children’s moccasins are the first shoes many Indigenous children wear. In this image they represent a baby’s first steps, and symbolize helping children move forward in life,” says Cardinal, co-owner of W.C. Creatives and current participant in the Kwe-Biz Program for Indigenous women entrepreneurs offered through the Queen’s-led WE-CAN Project. “The flowers represent true love and respect, and express that the children harmed by residential schools will be remembered and will always be in our thoughts.”
The design is also central to National Day for Truth and Reconciliation activities and observance taking place at Queen’s between Sept 25-Oct. 2, and will be visible on social media and physical designs during that period.
The Tricolour team have prepared 2,000 shirts that will be available to students, staff, and faculty for purchase. They will be on sale from Sept. 14–Oct. 2 at the Tricolour Outlet and online, as well as at pop-ups outside Douglas Library at University and Union (Sept. 19-21) and the Queen's Centre (Sept. 27-29).
“September 30 is an extremely important day within the Queen’s student community and it’s an honour for those of us at Tricolour Outlet to help provide something that brings such meaningful visibility to such an important part of Canadian history that still impacts Indigenous peoples today,” says Ayan Chowdhury, Tricolour Outlet Head Manager and fourth-year biology student. “We’re looking forward to seeing everyone at our location and pop-ups, and to seeing everyone showing their support for residential school survivors and Indigenous communities by wearing orange.”
In addition to orange shirt sales, the university has several events and engagements planned, including two film screenings, an Indigenous art display, and a sacred fire ceremony. For a full calendar of activities visit the Office of Indigenous Initiatives website.
With the 2023 National Day for Truth and Reconciliation falling on a Saturday, all academic activity will be suspended the following Monday, Oct. 2, in observance of the day.