Indigenous artist Danielle Piper designs 2023 Orange Shirt for Library staff

Calgary Public Library has commissioned Danielle Piper, 2022 Indigenous Artist in Residence at the Library, to create a design that will be featured on orange shirts available to all Library staff. 

Both Orange Shirt Day and National Day for Truth and Reconciliation are held on September 30, intended to raise awareness of the inter-generational impacts of Residential Schools. The orange shirt acknowledges survivor Phyllis Webstad’s experience of having her new orange shirt taken away from her when she was sent to Residential School.   

Providing shirts for all staff while engaging local Indigenous artists is one way Calgary Public Library is acknowledging National Day for Truth and Reconciliation.  

Calgary Public Library has a responsibility to share the true history of what happened at Indian Residential Schools and the ongoing, intergenerational trauma they caused. This symbol of the orange T-shirt is an important visual way for the Library to raise awareness of Orange Shirt Day and National Day for Truth and Reconciliation.  

Piper created an image of moccasins surrounded by fireweed floral designs for the Library’s orange shirts.  

“Across nations, there’s something really significant about gifting moccasins for a baby, and often these are made by welcoming, loving family members,” she says. “They also make us think of the paths we walk and those of our ancestors. The fireweed florals to me represent healing after disaster as this beautiful plant grows especially well where wildfires have burnt previously.”  

The text on the design is nehiyawewin (y-dialect), or plains Cree, and translates to Every Child Matters — “Tahto” means “every,” “awasis” is a child or baby, and “ispihteyihtakosiw translates approximately to “is held in high regard / is worth so much.” 

All Library locations will feature activities for visitors from September 24 – 29, including special book displays related to Truth and Reconciliation and celebrating Indigenous culture, button-making stations to show support for Every Child Matters, and the opportunity to create a thank-you message to members of the Elders’ Guidance Circle at the Library. 
On National Day for Truth and Reconciliation (September 30), locations that include Indigenous Placemaking installations will be open for visitors to learn more about Placemaking at the Library through self-led tours. Placemaking installations are at Central, Crowfoot, Forest Lawn, Saddletowne, Seton, Shawnessy, Signal Hill, and Village Square libraries. These locations will be open from noon to 5:00 pm. All other locations will be closed; Rocky Ridge Library will be open for self-serve holiday hours.  

To learn more about Truth and Reconciliation at the Library, visit 

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