(Photo of the orange shirt for Truth and Reconciliation Week from the University of Lethbridge website here)
Monday September 25 marks the start of Reconciliation Week leading up to the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, and Orange Shirt Day, on September 30th.
This day is both important and difficult, as a time for remembering Indigenous children and families harmed by Canada’s residential school system, for recognizing the continued effects of settler colonialism, genocide and intergenerational trauma, and for reacting by taking meaningful action. As we are reminded by the recent identification by the Stó:lõ Nation of at least 158 children whose deaths are directly linked to their attendance at residential schools in Fraser Valley, this horrific story has been known for generations, and is far from over.
The University of Lethbridge’s activities are paused on Friday 29 September, not as a holiday, but to provide time for collective reflection, learning and healing. ULFA wishes to express its solidarity with our Indigenous Members, and to anyone in our membership and our community who continues to be affected by our colonial past and present.
Here are some ways to get involved:
- Learn more about the history of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s 94 Calls to Action;
- Read the 94 Calls to Action (particularly 6–12 and 62–65, which relate to education);
- With kids, read one of these recommended children’s books about the residential school experience;
- Read some of the excellent scholarship around decolonizing the University and Indigenization of research:
·Decolonization is not a metaphor, by Eve Tuck and K. Wayne Yang.
·Keeoukaywin: The Visiting Way – Fostering an Indigenous Research Methodology, by Janice Cindy Gaudet.
·Theorizing Indigeneity, Gender, and Settler Colonialism by Shelbi Nahwilet Meissner, Kyle Whyte.
·Indigenization as inclusion, reconciliation, and decolonization: navigating the different visions for indigenizing the Canadian Academy, University of Alberta, by Adam Gaudry and Danielle Lorenz.
·McDowall, A. (2022). Preparing postgraduate research students to research Indigenous topics. Innovations in Education and Teaching International.
·McLean, Sheelah (2018). “’We Built a Life from Nothing’: White settler colonialism and the myth of meritocracy”. OS/OS, Fall/Winter.
Within Lethbridge and the University of Lethbridge:
- Take part in the City of Lethbridge activities for Truth and Reconciliation Week
- Learn about and donate to Sage Clan
- Analog Books bookstore is having a special Orange Shirt Day Storytime with Christina Fox (Saturday 30 Sept. 11:00 am to 12:00 pm)
- The University of Lethbridge’s Iikaisskini Indigenous Services has a website listing events that will take place during the coming week
- Highlights: Iniskim Truth and Reconciliation Call to Action Challenge Launch, Tuesday 26 Sept. 11:30 to 12:00 (UHall Atrium)
- Specifically for faculty, there will be a discussion of the writing of Parliamentary Poet Laureate, Cree Elder and residential school survivor Louise Halfe, Sky Dancer, Tuesday 26 Sept., 4:00 to 6:00 pm, Andy’s Place (AH100). Halfe will also give a talk on Wednesday 27 Sept., 3:00 to 4:30 pm in the Markin Hall Atrium.
- You can donate here to the Iikaisskini Student Initiatives Fund in support of Indigenous students at the U of L
- The new language in our Collective Agreement around evaluation of Indigenous Members’ Work (Article 23.03) was crafted in consultation with Indigenous members and follows the spirit of the TRC Calls to Action 62 and 63.
Supports are available here:
- Institute for the Advancement of Aboriginal Women has many resources including crisis lines;
- The National Indian Residential School Crisis Line can be reached 24 hours at: 1-866-925-4419
ULFA’s Gender, Equity and Diversity Committee
On behalf of ULFA