UVic is committed to reconciliation. We’re working to foster respect and mutual understanding with all Indigenous peoples and communities. You can partner in the work of reconciliation by listening, learning and sharing on Orange Shirt Day.

“Orange Shirt Day is a national movement that brings together Indigenous and non-Indigenous people in the spirit of hope and reconciliation, and honours former residential school students, their families and communities,” notes UVic President Kevin Hall. “This year, the confirmation of thousands of unmarked graves at the sites of residential schools across Canada has brought attention and urgency to the issue of reconciliation.”

As this year’s Orange Shirt Day takes place on September 30—the inaugural National Day for Truth and Reconciliation in Canada—UVic will be closed, so on-campus Orange Shirt Day events will take place from September 27-29.

“Reconciliation is an ongoing process and a shared responsibility,” continues Dr. Hall. “The University of Victoria, like all educational institutions, has a responsibility to learn about the history of Canada and address our role in perpetuating colonial systems. On Orange Shirt Day and the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation in Canada, we encourage the UVic community to take time to reflect on Canada’s history and present, and commit to taking action toward reconciliation.”

Orange Shirt Day

All faculty, staff, students, alumni and community members are invited to attend UVic Orange Shirt Day events. We also encourage everyone to wear an orange shirt during the week of Sept. 27 as a visual symbol of our awareness of the need for ongoing action toward reconciliation.

Orange shirts featuring a design (above) by artist and Visual Arts professor Carey Newman Hayalthkin’geme (Kwakwaka’wakw/Coast Salish) are available at the UVic Bookstore. Profits from UVic T-shirt sales directly benefit the Elders Engagement Fund, the Witness Blanket Project and the Orange Shirt Day Society.

If you already have an orange shirt, please consider making a $25 donation to the Elders Engagement Fund this year.

Film screenings (Cinecenta and First Peoples House)

Cinecenta: 1-3pm Monday, Sept 27

Cinecenta will be screening Savage by director Lisa Jackson (2009) and Kuper Island: Return to the Healing Circle by director Christine Welsh  (1997). These screenings will be followed by a panel discussion with Christine Welsh, Robina Thomas, Steve Sxwithul’txw and Ry Moran.

First People’s House: 7-9pm Tuesday, Sept 28

First People’s House is also hosting two film screenings: I’tustogalis: Rising Up Together – Our Voices, Our Stories by director Barb Cranmer (2015), and Truth Dance and Reconciliation by director Barbara Hager (2018).

Admission for both is by donation. Proceeds will go to the Elders Engagement Fund.

First People’s House and Cinecenta capacity is 50%. Proof of vaccination and government issued ID is required for admission. These events are open to UVic students, staff, faculty, alumni and the general public. 

On-campus events

UVic will host in-person events from 9:00am to 4:30pm Wednesday, Sept 29. Some of the events will be livestreamed so you can view them remotely.

The Past (9-10am)

Associate University Librarian-Reconciliation Ry Moran will host this morning event featuring a sacred fire, a welcome to the territory, opening prayer and featured speakers associate vice-president Indigenous Qwul’sih’yah’maht Robina Thomas and residential school survivor Mark Atleo.

The Present (noon-1pm)

Ry Moran will welcome speakers including UVic Chancellor Shelagh Rogers, professor Andrea Walsh and Vice President Research Lisa Kalynchuk, who will discuss the role of acknowledging and educating people about the history of residential schools

The Future (3:30-4:30pm)

Ry Moran will host UVic President Kevin Hall and an Indigenous faculty panel—including Visual Arts professor Carey Newman—for this cultural presentation about the role of education in truth and reconciliation and the TRC’s calls to action.

General activities

The Xe xe Smun’ eem – Victoria Orange Shirt Day: Every Child Matters ceremony will run 12-2:30pm in downtown’s  Centennial Square. “Xe xe Smun’ eem” means “Sacred Children” in the Cowichan or Quw utsun language, and this event will feature a blessing of the land, an Orange Shirt Day flag raising, Indigenous performances and guest speakers who will share their personal experiences with residential schools and reconciliation. For a list of other public activities around Greater Victoria to mark the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation in Canada, please see this event roundup.


Finally, we know that Orange Shirt Day—and conversations about residential schools—can be difficult for members of our community. If you are in need of support, please reach out.