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The Jilly Box

The Meaning Behind Orange Shirt Day

Hi everyone! It’s Team Jilly Box here! If you didn’t know, today marks the first day of National Truth and Reconciliation Week and in two days, on September 30th, it’s National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, which also happens to be Orange Shirt Day; a day to commemorate the history and acknowledge the intergenerational trauma caused by residential schools.

To start the week off, we wanted to dive right into what Orange Shirt Day is (for those who may not know the history behind it!), share all about the beautiful Orange Shirt we designed in collaboration with Awasis Boutique this year, and talk about how we’re supporting Indigenous organizations (and how you can too!).

Orange Shirt Day History

When Phyllis Webstad was six years old, she entered the St. Joseph Mission Residential School, which is located just outside of Williams Lake, BC. As a young First Nations girl excited for her first day of school, she wore a brand new shiny orange shirt, bought by her grandmother, but it was quickly stripped from her by the school staff. This was just one of the many things that were stripped from First Nations, Inuit and Metis children who attended Residential Schools. In 2013, Phyllis Webstad created the Orange Shirt Society, an organization that is committed to creating awareness of the individual, family, and community intergenerational impacts of Indian Residential Schools through Orange Shirt Society activities. Every year on September 30th, we wear an Orange Shirt as a way to honour the children who survived the Indian Residential School system and remember those that didn’t. September 30th was chosen as Orange Shirt Day because it is the time of year which children were taken from their homes and brought to residential schools. Also, it is an opportunity to set the stage for anti-racism and anti-bullying policies for the coming school year. To read Phyllis’ full story in her own words, click here!

“September 30th has been declared Orange Shirt Day annually, in recognition of the harm the residential school system did to children’s sense of self-esteem and well-being, and as an affirmation of our commitment to ensure that everyone around us matters.” Phyllis Webstad

The Jilly Box Orange Shirt

If you’ve been following us over at The Jilly Box, one of our Fall 2022 Jilly Box add-ons was the Orange Shirt designed in collaboration with Indigenous-owned brand Awasis Boutique! This collaboration allowed us to reinvest 100% of proceeds from the sales of this shirt to the Indian Residential School Survivors Society (IRSSS), which was a total of $19,700 CAD!

Our team, along with Christine Marie, owner of Awasis Boutique, couldn’t believe how fast the Orange Shirts sold out and the amount of people wanting to support this cause! “Once we saw the high demand, we worked with Team Jilly Box to offer another round of the shirts on my shop. There were over 6000 people ready to buy! With the additional units, we raised $14,000 on top of our original launch that was also donated to the IRSSS!”, said Christine.

With the second round of sales, our fundraiser with Awasis Boutique reached $33,700 CAD, which was all reinvested in the IRSSS and will help provide essential services to the survivors of residential schools and their families!

Jillian Harris wearing the Orange Shirt from The Fall 2022 Jilly Box in honour of Orange Shirt Day

Doing (More!) Good with The Jilly Box

Every season, The Jilly Box donates $2 CAD per box sold to a cause that is near and dear to our hearts. In addition to collaborating with Awasis Boutique on our orange shirt initiative, we wanted to raise more funds to reinvest in supporting Indigenous organizations.

With YOUR help, we reinvested an additional $20,000 CAD to the IRSSS and $20,000 CAD to The Orange Shirt Society from The Fall 2022 Jilly Box sales. We were also able to redirect a portion of sales from The Summer 2022 Jilly Box to support Phyllis and her team’s mission, increasing the total we reinvested in her organization to $27,000 CAD. To learn more about the work they do, visit!

How You Can Show Support

There are many ways to support both the Orange Shirt Society and the Indian Residential School Survivors Society. Christine, owner of Awasis Boutique urges people to take the time to learn by reading books, listening to podcasts, watching videos, and more from the Indigenous community. “Attend Indigenous-related community events, be a friend, and listen to the elders – their stories are ones that need to be heard and understood.”, said Christine, who also recommends the University of Alberta’s Indigenous Studies course to those who are looking for a more structured study.

While we are still learning and unlearning, we know the work is never done. If you are looking for ways to honour National Truth and Reconciliation Day, check out this blog post by Team Jilly. We would also love to hear from you, head on over to @thejillybox Instagram account and share how you are supporting Indigenous communities.


Team Jilly Box

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