Visual Representations of Orange Shirt Day

Powerful images and descriptors of Residential Schools featuring black and white photographs combined with straight sight lines give a sense of the order and rigidity during that dark time in our Colonial history.

In stark contrast, while inherently connected, is a colorful and original artwork piece with a more Indigenous perspective titled Every Child Matters. ‘Love’ is at the heart of the representation with language from multiple Indigenous nations from all across Canada that was infused to create the medicine wheel effect. “Using the multiple languages was very purposeful because we were trying represent the strength and resilience of residential school survivors and the revitalization of the Indigenous languages.” said Teacher, Ms. Becky Reynolds. “Our identities as people and as cultures is embedded in our language.”

What started out as a topic in her First Nations and Inuit Studies course last year, evolved into an extraordinary Inquiry Project that engaged students in historical perspectives, creativity and outreach in the Lac du Bonnet community. In addition to the displays, the students also performed and presented on the Orange Shirt Day topic to the school. Student contributors on the project were Olivia Gow, Phoenix Machado, Kirsten Joseph and Tanya Fisher along with assistance from Art Teacher, Mrs. Amy Usackis.

This year, Ms. Reynolds’ students are adding factual, research-based pieces to the project throughout the school in different ways, while maintaining the original displays. In addition, this group of students will also be presenting on September 30.

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