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Every Child Matters Flags, Canada

Orange Shirt Day

Last modified: 2023-09-02 by rob raeside
Keywords: every child matters | orange flag |
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[Indigenous Peoples Flag] image by Pete Loeser, 5 July 2022
Indigenous Peoples Flag for Orange Shirt Day

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Canadians were shocked at the discovery in 2021 of unmarked graves at the Indian Residential School in Kamloops, British Columbia. Throughout the following months other sites were discovered in the western provinces, leading to a nation-wide debate whether these graves should be dug up or left alone. Many have demanded that authorities should "conduct full-fledged investigations into the circumstances and responsibilities surrounding these deaths, including forensic examinations of the remains found, and to proceed to the identification and registration of the missing children."

Frustration on the lack of progress has resulted in the "Every Child Matters" movement and some flag-waving, as well as demonstrations about the lack of progress. The colour orange has emerged as a symbol, although no single flag has dominated, but many flags featuring a hand-print, or Indigenous designs incorporating feathers or other symbols have predominated.

The federal government has established the last day of September as the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, but it is also called Orange Shirt Day. Orange Shirt Day is an Indigenous-led grassroots day that honours the children who survived residential schools and remembers those who did not. The story is First Nation girl named Phyllis Webstad, on her first day of school, arrived dressed in a new orange shirt, which school officials took from her. This act has become a symbol of the stripping away of the culture, freedom and self-esteem of the Indigenous children over generations. Now all Canadians to are encouraged to wear orange to raise awareness of the very tragic legacy of residential schools, and to honour the thousands of survivors.
Pete Loeser, 5 July 2022

Residential School Survivors' Flag

[Residential School Survivors’ Flag] image by Pete Loeser, 5 July 2022

The Survivors' Flag is an expression of remembrance, meant to honour residential school survivors and all the lives and communities impacted by the residential school system in Canada. Each element depicted on the flag was carefully selected by survivors from across Canada, who were consulted in the flag's creation.
This flag is being produced in both the traditional Canadian ratio of 1:2 and the more modern accepted ratio of 2:3.
Pete Loeser, 5 July 2022

On CBC today:
"The federal government raised the Survivors' Flag on Parliament Hill today as a way to honour Indigenous people forced to attend residential schools."
Dave Fowler, 30 August 2022

Every Child Matters Flags

Some of the many designs seen in demonstrations associated with the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and the Every Child Matters movement are shown below.

[Every Child Matters Flag] image by Pete Loeser, 5 July 2022

[Every Child Matters Flag] image by Pete Loeser, 5 July 2022

[Every Child Matters Flag] image by Pete Loeser, 5 July 2022

[Every Child Matters Flag] image located by Paul Bassinson, 14 August 2023

Source: from

The flag contains the words Every Child Matters / Chaque enfant compte in block letters.
Olivier Touzeau, 15 August 2023

See also: NAVA VexiBits article "Every Child Matters" for more examples and further details.