On Sept. 30, Brock commemorates the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation.
The day is meant to honour and recognize the survivors of this country’s residential school system. It is also a day to remember those untold numbers of children who tragically did not survive their time at these schools.
The harms this system inflicted on Indigenous communities across the country did not come to an end when the last such institution closed in 1996. As Orange Shirt Day founder Phyllis Webstad’s recent visit to campus made clear, the effects of the residential school system on Indigenous families are profound and continue to this day.
Remembering and honouring those who were forced to attend these facilities is an important part of reconciliation. And while Brock has made progress in its commitment to decolonization and Indigenization — including the cluster hiring of Indigenous scholars, expanded research opportunities and financial supports — a great deal more work remains.
That’s why we encourage every single member of the Brock community to take time today to reflect on Canada’s relationship with Indigenous Peoples. To consider what each of us can personally do to meaningfully advance reconciliation.
Attend an event happening on campus or in the community. Wear orange. Take the time to read the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Calls to Action, many of which involve education or the education system.
Flags on campus will be flown at half-mast, and Schmon Tower will be illuminated orange throughout the evening as part of Brock’s recognition of this important day.
Please join us today in recognizing the continuing trauma experienced by Indigenous Peoples, and resolving to build a better future for all, at Brock and beyond.
Professor Lynn Wells
Interim President and Vice-Chancellor
Provost and Vice-President, Academic
Professor Robyn Bourgeois
Acting Vice-Provost, Indigenous Engagement