Today is Orange Shirt Day – a day dedicated to honouring residential school survivors, the children who never returned home, their families and their communities.
It is also the inaugural annual National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, the Canadian government’s response to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s (TRC) call to action 80.
On this day, Canadians are reminded of our responsibility to learn about our colonial history and the intergenerational effects of residential schools as well as of our responsibility to continue to work toward reconciliation.
As a place dedicated to higher learning, the University of Guelph has an important role in dismantling the colonial structures and relationships that continue to harm Indigenous families, communities and lands.
The findings of the TRC and its calls to action, and more recently the confirmation of the remains of Indigenous children at residential school sites across the country, have underscored the urgency of the need to act.
The University remains strongly committed to our responsibility for reconciliation and decolonization. The University believes it is essential to create a community that honours First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples, histories, cultures and ways of knowing.
Developed with Indigenous students, staff, faculty and community, the 150 recommendations in Bi-Naagwad | It comes into view, the University’s Indigenous Initiatives Strategy, speak to our responsibility, and we are focused on implementing all of them.
The University encourages our campus community to learn about our Indigenous Initiatives Strategy as well as the TRC’s calls to action and the calls for justice from the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls. A place to begin this learning is the Exploring Indigenous Narratives and Worldviews collection at the U of G Library.
The University also asks our community members to consider how you can act to contribute toward reconciliation and decolonization in your work and personal lives.
U of G is a community that aspires to pursue the best versions of ourselves and to building inclusive societies where everyone thrives. The University believes that First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples deserve equitable treatment and opportunities in all aspects of society including child welfare, health care, housing, justice and education. We believe that Every Child Matters.
Support services are available for Indigenous students, staff and faculty at U of G and in the broader community:
• Indigenous student advisor: firstname.lastname@example.org
• Student Counselling Services: 519-824-4120, Ext. 53244
• Student Support Network
• Good2Talk: 1-866-925-5454 or text “UofG” to 686868
• Keep.meSAFE (for international students): 1-844-451-9700
• Employee Assistance Program (for faculty and staff): 1-800-265-8310
• 24-hour Indian Residential School Crisis Line (for those impacted by the residential school system): 1-866-925-4419