Sept. 29, 2021Print | PDF
September 30, 2021 marks the inaugural National Day for Truth and Reconciliation. This day of remembrance and reflection is meant to honour First Nations, Inuit and Métis survivors of residential schools, their families and communities, and to ensure the public commemoration of their history and the legacy of residential schools.
Wilfrid Laurier University invites the community to participate in the virtual events planned to commemorate this day.
Laurier’s Waterloo and Brantford campuses are located on the Haldimand Tract, traditional territory of the Neutral, Anishnaabe and Haudenosaunee peoples. The land is part of the Dish with One Spoon Treaty between the Haudenosaunee and Anishnaabe peoples and symbolizes the agreement to share and protect resources and not engage in conflict. The Haldimand Deed of 1784 states the Haldimand Tract is “six miles deep from each side of the river (Grand River) beginning at Lake Erie and extending in the proportion to the Head of said river, which them and their posterity are to enjoy forever.”
On this National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, it is essential for all citizens to reflect on Canada’s colonial past and the continuing legacy of colonial trauma. This day is meant to be a day of reflection on the history of residential schools in Canada and its lasting impact.
On Sept. 30, the Office of Indigenous Initiatives will share a pre-recorded video to communicate truths about the legacy and harms of residential schools.
In the recording, Darren Thomas, associate vice-president: Indigenous Initiatives, interviews Six Nations community member Sherlene Bomberry, who shares her experiences as a child at the Mohawk Institute and her journey to healing and helping other survivors.
Thomas also talks to Cody Groat, a PhD candidate in the Department of History at Laurier, about his research and how it intersects with his own lived experiences and the experiences of his family as Mohawk and Six Nations band members.
Members of the Laurier community can show visible support for residential school survivors and reconciliation with Indigenous peoples by purchasing a shirt from the Woodland Cultural Centre in Brantford, with 100% of its proceeds going toward the centre’s Save the Evidence campaign. The campaign aims to raise funds for the restoration and renovation of the former Mohawk Institute Residential School into an interpretive heritage site designed to educate about Canada's residential school history.
Shirts can be ordered online through Laurier’s Office of Indigenous Initiatives for a cost of $25 and will be available for pick-up at the Brantford or Waterloo campus. The bookstores on both campuses will also be selling orange shirts, with proceeds donated to the Woodland Cultural Centre’s Save the Evidence campaign.
Members of the Laurier community are encouraged to show their support for Orange Shirt Day, a grassroots movement also held on Sept. 30 to honour the children and generational survivors impacted by residential schools. Laurier community members are invited to post a picture of themselves wearing an orange shirt to social media and tagging it with the hashtags #EveryChildMatters, #OrangeShirtDay and #LaurierIndigenous.
The Laurier community is also invited to participate in virtual Orange Shirt Day events held by the Woodland Cultural Centre on Sept. 30. The events include a Thanksgiving Address with Elder Tehahentah Meller, a virtual tour of the Mohawk Institute Residential School, survivor testimonials and question and answer session, and a presentation on Truth and Reconciliation. Visit the Woodland Culture Centre website for more information and to register.
The Faculty of Music is hosting a special performance of Music at Noon on Sept. 30. The event, Children are Sacred: A Fundraising Concert, will celebrate Indigenous musicians, honour and recognize the children who were lost in residential schools, and honour the survivors and their families.
The Faculty of Music invites the Laurier community to help reach their fundraising goal of $5,000 for the Woodland Cultural Centre, which serves to promote Indigenous history, art, language and culture.
Watch the concert on the Faculty of Music’s YouTube channel.
Join in on the first virtual event of the Indiqueer and Gender Diverse Speaker Series on Sept. 30, with the topic of “2SLGBTQQIA+ Orange Shirt.” Speakers for the Sept. 30 event are Laureen Blu Waters, Gabe Calderón and Nenookaasi Ochrym, and will be moderated by Indigenous Studies program coordinator Percy Lezard. This is a free event, and all are welcome from the campus and community. Registration for the event is required; please register through Eventbrite.
The series is a combination of two-spirit, Indiqueer, trans and non-binary thinkers from community, grassroots organizers and the post-secondary sector throughout the fall term.
The Office of Indigenous Initiatives established the Indigenous Knowledge Fund to bring respected Elders and other Indigenous knowledge holders to our campuses to join students at the Indigenous Student Centres or as guest speakers in classes and workshops.
A donation to this fund will directly support Laurier’s commitment to bring Indigenous thought and philosophy into and across the entire institution, recognizing the intellectual contributions that Indigenous knowledge holders can make to every single discipline in the university.
By committing to truth-telling and knowledge sharing, Indigenous and allied learners alike can begin to build bridges and strengthen connections between our communities, and together forge a path to reconcile the legacy of colonial harms in our history.
Gifts can be made online to support this important initiative.
The residential school’s crisis line is available 24 hours a day for anyone experiencing pain or distress as a result of a residential school experience. Support is available at 1-866-925-4419.
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