Starting in the early 19th century, native children of Canada and the US were separated from their families and forced into residential schools. These boarding schools were established by the US and Canadian governments, as well as some church organizations, with the goal of eradicating native culture. Generations of children forced into these schools were made to cut their hair, take English names, and abandon their traditional clothing. They often faced abuse, and were prohibited from speaking their native languages or practicing their cultural beliefs. The last residential schools closed in 1996. Learn more at culturalsurvival.org and orangeshirtday.org.
Orange Shirt Day (also called National Day for Truth and Reconciliation), is observed on September 30th in Canada and the United States. This day derives its name from the story of residential school survivor Phyllis (Jack) Webstad, whose orange shirt was taken from her on her first day at a Canadian residential school. This day is meant to spread awareness of the cultural trauma caused by residential schools and to give voice to the stories of survivors. With guidance from IU First Nations Educational & Cultural Center, Lotus Education & Arts Foundation is using our platform to help raise awareness of this cultural crisis.
To help raise money for this cause, badknees is partnering with Lotus and artist Michael A. Koby Turtleheart to sell a limited run of custom designed orange t-shirts. 100% of the proceeds for each t-shirt sold will be donated to The National Native American Boarding School Healing Coalition. To order a t-shirt, please visit badkneests.com/products/orangeshirtday. Order your shirt by September 17th to have your shirt for Orange Shirt Day.
Wear an orange shirt on September 30th, and consider donating to The National Native American Boarding School Healing Coalition at boardingschoolhealing.org.
About the Artist: Michael A. Koby Turtleheart is a 2S (Cree & Eastern Tsalagi) artist & storyteller – downloading the ancestors, remixing them in the present, & sending them as Medicine 2 the future generations. “Most important to me is that my work marks a particular place, space, and time – an individual living in the modern world, in the middle of nowhere – and communicating with the land, the universe, & the ancestors. Sometimes I am inspired by snow on a prairie I walk through, a horse in a field, or a story my grandmother told me as a child. This land, these waterways speak – And I hope the artwork tells their stories…that when I paint I’m communicating in the same primal language….” Learn more about Michael’s art on his website and find him on instagram @turtleheartdezign.