Each year on Sept. 30, we honour the unknown number of children who never returned home from Canada’s residential schools, as well as those who survived their time in these facilities.
The National Day for Truth and Reconciliation is an opportunity for the campus community to come together to learn about and reflect on this country’s past, and the harm colonization continues to have on Indigenous Peoples across Canada — including in communities like Yukon First Nation, which is grieving this week after the discovery of 15 potential graves near the site of a former residential school near Whitehorse.
The harms this system inflicted did not come to an end when the last such institution closed in 1996. As Orange Shirt Day founder Phyllis Webstad’s visit to campus last year made clear, the effects of the residential school system on Indigenous families are profound and continue to this day.
Universities like Brock have an important role to play in addressing this intergenerational trauma.
Many of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Calls to Action involve the education system, and Brock has prioritized reconciliation, decolonization and providing increased supports for Indigenous learners, educators and researchers.
We’re also thrilled to be welcoming Brock’s largest incoming group of self-identified Indigenous students to campus this year.
But there is much more to be done, and as members of the campus community, we all have a role to play in advancing reconciliation. We encourage everyone to take a moment to reflect on what can be done personally to meaningfully advance this important work.
You can attend any number of events scheduled on campus and in the community. Wear an orange t-shirt. Read and act on the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Calls to Action.
Flags on campus will be flown at half-mast, and Schmon Tower will be illuminated orange to recognize the importance of the day.
Please join us in recognizing and honouring those who have experienced so much trauma, and in strengthening our commitment to a more just and equitable society for all.
President and Vice-Chancellor
Provost and Vice-President, Academic
Vice-Provost, Indigenous Engagement