Universities pay tribute to residential school Survivors and Indigenous communities

September 30, 2022
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People wearing orange and traditional Indigenous clothing looking at the building

September 30th marks the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation. Established in 2021, as recommended within the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada’s 94 calls to action, the day publicly commemorates the tragic history and ongoing impacts of Canada’s residential school system. It is an occasion to honour the First Nations, Métis and Inuit children who survived residential schools, as well as those who never returned home.

Education is key to reconciliation

Canada’s universities are partners in the country’s truth and reconciliation efforts, and they recognize their responsibilities in reconciliation, in creating respectful partnerships, and removing barriers to education for First Nations, Métis and Inuit students.

“Education got us into this mess and education will get us out of it.” – The Honourable Justice Murray Sinclair, Chair of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission

Students, staff and faculty mark September 30th

Today, university staff, students and faculty across Canada are engaging in personal reflection and learning on our history and its impact on the present.

The University of Waterloo, for example, is hosting a sunrise ceremony, followed by a truth and reconciliation walk, feast and learning circle. Earlier this month, their university community had the chance to participate in a virtual tour of the Mohawk Institute Indian Residential School, and  hear directly from five Survivors.

The University of British Columbia is screening a series of thought-provoking films, followed by discussions and personal reflections on Canada’s colonial history. The films screened include: Healing Journey One Button at a Time, We Were Children and Inconvenient Indian.

In the province of Québec, four universities (Institut national de la recherche scientifique, École nationale d’administration publique, Université TÉLUQ and Université du Québec) are offering learning and reflection activities throughout September and October. Events include exploring subjects from the Indigenous rights podcast Voies parallèles, hearing from students and graduates representing Québec’s 11 Indigenous nations and a session on the role of universities in reconciliation, decolonization and Indigenization.

A moment of personal reflection and remembrance

On this important day, we invite you to join universities in learning about Canada’s history with residential schools and honouring those whose lives were lost.

Learn more about the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation.

About Universities Canada
Universities Canada is the voice of Canada’s universities at home and abroad, advancing higher education, research and innovation for the benefit of all Canadians.

Media contact:

Lisa Wallace
Assistant Director, Communications
Universities Canada
[email protected]

Tagged:  Equity, diversity and inclusion, Indigenous education

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