What to look for when buying Orange Shirt Day merchandise


With so many online sellers snatching up designs from Indigenous artists to sell merchandise for Orange Shirt Day on September 30, artists are warning people to make sure they’re buying from a source that supports survivors. residential schools.

Counterfeits have become so prolific that it has become difficult to source blank orange shirts across the country as businesses without Indigenous ties buy them in bulk to take advantage of “the suffering of residential school survivors,” Kristin said. Spray, which hosts an annual Orange. Shirt Day in Centennial Square with Residential School survivor Eddy Charlie.

Spray and Charlie sell shirts with a design by artist W̱SÁNEĆ Bear Horne through their website and several local businesses. Spray said about 10 different outlets stole the design, even changing colors and removing Horne’s signature from her work, and she knows many artists have gone through something similar.

Charlie said he found it “scandalous” that companies stole artists for profit, without paying survivors a profit or raising awareness.

“They don’t even talk about what design means or why it’s important to talk about residential schools,” Charlie said.

For those looking to purchase a shirt for September 30, Spray and Charlie recommend asking the seller who the artist is and where the sales proceeds are going. If in doubt, Spray suggests contacting artists directly to ask where they sell their shirts. The process can also lead to new connections and learning more about the artist’s work, she said.

“These are not just drawings. Many of the designs on the shirts are also stories. And artists have an important place to share on these stories when there is trust in place or a connection is made, ”said Spray.

Proceeds from the orange shirts and other merchandise Spray and Charlie sell are used to fund the organization of the annual event, including payment to survivors who share their stories, Indigenous leaders who recognize the land and say prayers, as well as Spray’s work all year round. and Charlie to raise awareness. Shirts with Horne’s design can be purchased online at victoriaorangeshirtday.com, at the Moss Street Market on Saturdays, and at businesses on the island including Cafe Fantastico on Quadra, Discovery Coffee and Victory Barbers and Brand. A full list is available on the event’s web page.

Artist nuu-chah-nulth Art Charlie sells his own design on t-shirts at downtown stores including Spirit of Victoria, Moose Crossing, Cedar Moon and Northwest Origins, where he is deputy director.

The shirts are accompanied by a short biography of Charlie and a description of the design, which features a wolf, an eagle, a crow and a bear around a moon, a symbol of protection and transformation, ”he said. he declares.

Charlie receives a dollar from every shirt sold, with the remainder going to the Orange Shirt Society and the Indian Residential School Survivors Society.

The University of Victoria sells shirts with a design by Kwakwaka’wakw artist Carey Newman in their bookstore. Profits go to Newman’s Witness Coverage Project, the Orange Shirt Society and the Elders Engagement Fund.

The Royal BC Museum gift shop also sells Orange Shirt Day shirts, with proceeds going to the Orange Shirt Society and the BC Aboriginal Child Care Association.

Shirts can also be purchased directly from the Orange Shirt Society, a non-profit organization created to raise awareness of the intergenerational impacts of residential schools.

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