Something Wonderful Studios
"They Found Us" Orange T-Shirts
"They Found Us" Orange T-Shirts
Orange Shirt Day is a day that uses color as a symbol that commemorates residential school deaths and survivors.
I did a lot of personal research to find out why the color and idea chosen is an orange shirt.
I came across a story of "Phyllis Jack,” a little girl who was 6 years old on her way to attend a residential school located in British Columbia. Upon arrival, her clothes were taken and thrown away including her favourite orange shirt given to her by her grandmother.
I put myself in her shoes by thinking to myself how exciting it is to get "back to school" clothing and items to begin a new year. Imagine yourself, or even your child, being in a position where you just bought new clothes to kickstart going back to school. Excited to wear new gear and show them off, but upon arrival they are all thrown away. That's a small piece of what residential school brought into our lives.
The inspiration behind this particular piece was inspired by a lot of people approaching me during vendors stating "orange is not my color". I understand that it is a color often not worn so I decided to incorporate multiple colors beyond orange to bring a new color scheme that might allow others the feeling of uniqueness and an inclination to something that they can see themselves wearing in support of this movement.
As the words are often stated "every child matters,” I wanted to instead bring a visual to what every child includes: that being indigenous children. “They Found Us” is a statement that speaks on behalf of those who were lost in the residential school system. They had potential that was taken from them at an early age. A little boy in a headdress could have become anything if given the chance. Sadly, opportunities like that were taken away from so many children, but to wear this particular shirt is to allow people to see who this little boy was and paints a deeper picture to an idea and makes it a sad reality.
During this past year I was asked to present at an elementary school to talk about the word "Resilience" and in doing so,I learned a lot about the word and myself. I found that it is at times hard to be resilient. It is difficult and can be scary, yet our people are still here. After everything that has happened to us, after overcoming colonialist objectives of wiping out a race, we are still here today and regaining our numbers. We are making a difference, creating change, regaining our identity, and keeping our language alive. We are resilient. We always have been and that alone is what has kept us alive to this day.
Wear this on the back and know that every member of those who are indigenous are resilient. We are here and we are still alive today.
To tie the past and the present together as well as tieing spirituality and reality is what I like to incorporate into my clothing.
Take the time to learn, ask, and seek knowledge whether you're indigenous or not. That is how we will become better understanding of the cause and one another.
We recommend washing inside out to preserve quality
Air dry is best for longer lasting