Orange shirts selling by hundreds in memory of residential school victims

·1 min read
The new shirts feature children. (Mi'kmaq Printing and Design - image credit)
The new shirts feature children. (Mi'kmaq Printing and Design - image credit)

A P.E.I. company has seen a huge increase in sales of shirts it sells in support of Indigenous communities.

This is the fourth year Mi'kmaq Printing and Design has been selling the shirts. The first year they sold 1,000, and three times that number last year. This year it looks like it will easily exceed that.

"We're getting orders of hundreds at a time," said company business and partnerships director Betty Gordon.

"Community both here in Epekwitk and across the country have been trying to find tangible ways that they can support residential school survivors and their families. And by wearing the orange shirt and by gathering, there's a strength in that."

Mi'kmaq Printing and Design
Mi'kmaq Printing and Design

The orders are connected to the news of hundreds of unmarked graves found on the grounds of former residential schools in B.C. and Saskatchewan, said Gordon.

Typically sales for the shirts would start to peak in September for Orange Shirt Day, which is Sept. 30. The day is in memory of the experience of Phyllis Webstad, who was given an orange shirt by her grandmother to wear on her first day at St. Joseph's Mission Residential School in Williams Lake. The shirt was taken from her and she never saw it again.

The company is still selling its original design, featuring an eagle, but has a new design this year featuring children with the slogan "Every child matters," available in English, French and Mi'kmaq.

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