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Sept. 30th - Truth and Reconciliation

September 30th marks the first annual Day of Truth and Reconciliation; a day to honour the children and survivors of residential schools, their families, and their communities. We encourage all Gryphons to reflect on their own learning and personal acts of reconciliation, and to wear orange on September 30th.

 Why orange?

Phyllis (Jack) Webstad, a survivor of the residential school system, tells her story of a brand-new outfit her grandmother managed to buy her for the mission school she attended in 1973/1974. The six-year-old picked out a bright orange shirt to match her excitement to be going to school. When she arrived at the Mission, they stripped her of her belongings, and took her clothing, including her new orange shirt. Since then, the colour orange has been a reminder of what was taken from her along with the worthlessness and insignificance she experienced as a young, vulnerable child. Though she has since sought treatment to heal from the experience, she shares how these feelings have been ingrained in her and has continued to affect the way she lives her life.

To learn more about Phyllis’ story, please visit orangeshirtday.org

Calls to Action

Between 1831 and 1998 there were 140 federally run Indian Residential Schools, with the last one closing on 23 years ago. The Truth and Reconciliation Commission was established to advocate for recognition, reparation, and accountability for the legacy of harm caused by Residential Schools. The Commission ran until 2015, where they release a final report, outlining 94 calls to action. National Truth and Reconciliation Day is a direct response to Call to Action 80, which calls for a federal statutory day of Commemoration.

What can I do?

Listen and learn.

U of G invites staff, faculty and U of G students to come together on the Johnston Green on Sept 30th from 12pm-2pm to honour Residential School Survivors and the children who never returned home. This ceremony will be led by Elders Dan and Mary Lou Smoke and hosted by the Indigenous Student Centre and Indigenous Initiatives and in collaboration with the Indigenous Student Society.

Explore the resources below to learn about the unique history, language, cultures and spiritual beliefs of First Nations, Inuit, and Metis Peoples.

Resources

Supports for First Nations, Métis and Inuit Students

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