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Ozaawaa Babigoyaan Giizhigad / Orange Shirt Day

Community members in orange shirts walking together in the Kerr Hall Quad

September 30 is Ozaawaa Babigoyaan Giizhigad / Orange Shirt Day and the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation

Ozaawaa Babigoyaan Giizhigad / Orange Shirt Day and the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation (external link)  occur annually on September 30. It is a commemorative day of recognition and awareness-raising about the impacts of the Canadian Residential School system and government policy imposed on Indigenous Peoples. 

Ozaawaa Babigoyaan Giizhigad / Orange Shirt Day originated from the story of Phyllis Webstad (external link) , who is a residential school survivor.

Ozaawaa Babigoyaan Giizhigad / Orange Shirt Day at TMU

University community members (both Indigenous and non-Indigenous) come together every year in the spirit of truth-telling and reconciliation to provide space for meaningful conversations and reflection on the impacts of residential schools and their legacy in our community.

The significance of September 

Ozaawaa Babigoyaan Giizhigad / Orange Shirt Day is commemorated every September 30. September aligns with the time of year in which children were taken from their homes and communities to attend residential schools. This part of Canadian history occurred for over 150 years, during which 150,000 children attended schools, and many never returned. Please visit the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation website (external link)  to learn more.

A key initiative as part of Truth and Reconciliation at TMU

Ozaawaa Babigoyaan Giizhigad / Orange Shirt Day was identified as a key initiative students brought forward in TMU’s Truth and Reconciliation community consultations. Learn more by reading the Community Consultation Summary Report.

Thank you for joining us at this year’s event

 Community members in orange shirts listening in the audience

On Sept. 29, TMU community members gathered in the Student Learning Centre (SLC) to commemorate Ozaawaa Babigoyaan Giizhigad / Orange Shirt Day The day began with an opening song and welcome remarks, followed by a presentation by Nicole Ineese-Nash and Nyle Johnston of the Indigenous non-profit Finding Our Power Together (external link)  and a delicious feast. All photos by: Nadya Kwandibens.

Mohamed Lachemi, TMU president, speaking at the microphone next to the Eagle Staff and the letters TMU in orange

TMU President Mohamed Lachemi provided opening remarks and shared that as part of the university’s commitment to systemic changes that support Indigenous community members, TMU is implementing an Indigenous Wellbeing and Cultural Practice Leave. Through this new leave, eligible Indigenous staff from Canada can take up to five paid days per year to support healing and well-being, including cultivating cultural interests and practices in whatever they choose.

Community members in orange shirts watching as the Every Child Matters flag is being raised up the flag pool in the Kerr Hall Quad

Community members met in the TMU quad for the raising of the survivors’ flag to honour all survivors, families and communities impacted by the residential school system in Canada. Learn more about the survivors’ flag (external link)  and what each element on the flag represents.

 Community members in orange shirts walking together on campus, one is holding the Eagle Staff

On the silent memorial walk through campus, attendees were asked to reflect on what it would be like to attend an institution like TMU if they were unable to speak their language, practice their spirituality or religion, or go home to see their family and friends.


Orange Shirt Day organizing committee

This year’s event is organized by a collective of Indigenous and non-Indigenous colleagues, led by Crystal Osawamick, manager of Indigenous events and special projects.

The committee includes staff from Alumni Relations; Career, Co-op and Student Success; Centre for Excellence in Learning and Teaching; Ceremonials Office; Indigenous Education Council; Lincoln Alexander School of Law; Office of the Provost; Office of the Vice-President, Equity and Community Inclusion including Indigenous Initiatives and Gdoo-maawnjidimi Mompii Indigenous Student Services; School of Early Childhood Studies; Student Affairs; Student Learning Centre; Student Life and Learning Support and TMU Libraries.

Past events


If you have any questions, please email Crystal Osawamick, Manager of Indigenous Events and Special Projects, at