Commemorating the first National Day for Truth and Reconciliation
September 30th this year marks the first National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, also known as Orange Shirt Day. It is a time for reflection and a time to come together in the spirit of reconciliation, and to honour those who have been impacted by Canada’s residential school system.
We encourage SFU students, faculty and staff to wear an orange shirt during the week of September 27, to take time to participate in the many initiatives happening across the university and stand in solidarity with Indigenous communities across Canada.
Here are some ways for you to get involved.
Attend an event:
Burnaby Campus - Opening Ceremony for Truth and Reconciliation Week
September 27 | Convocation Mall |12 p.m. - 1 p.m.
A formal in-person ceremony at Burnaby campus featuring traditional drumming and singing, with opening and closing prayers from Elders and additional remarks from SFU senior leadership and faculty, will begin the week of activities across SFU’s three campuses. The event will feature Elder Syexwaliiya (Ann Whonnock), Elder Margaret George, Ron Johnston, Dr. Catherine Dauvergne and Dr. Rudy Reimer (Yumks). Watch a playback of the live-stream of the formal ceremony.
ISC x FNSA Activity Booth
September 27 | Convocation Mall, Burnaby Campus | 10 a.m. - 3 p.m.
Drop by the Indigenous Student Centre and First Nations Student Association's booth to visit with students, ISC staff and Elders, and for Orange Shirt Day activities including an orange shirt art table, fire pits for bannock s'mores, drumming and more information about Orange Shirt Day.
Vancouver Campus – formal event
September 28| Harbour Centre Room 1400 |11 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
This in-person ceremony will include Elder Margaret George (Skawahlook First Nation), Elder Syexwaliya (Skwxwu7mesh Uxwumixw), and SFU President Joy Johnson. The event will also feature additional speakers including Laurie Anderson, Ron Johnston, Jessica LaRochelle, Gary George and Elder Seislom. In alignment with current public health orders, the in-person ceremony will be limited to 50 people, but the event will also be live-streamed.
Surrey Campus – Skookum Surrey – National Day for Truth and Reconciliation
September 30| Holland Park |2 p.m. – 4 p.m.
To mark the first National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, you are invited to join SFU Surrey, in partnership with the Surrey Urban Indigenous Leadership Committee (SUILC) and the City of Surrey, for an afternoon of stories, poetry, coffee and tea, bannock and drumming. This event will be rain or shine, and we encourage you to wear your orange shirt and bring your drums. View poster.
Indigenous Research and Indigenous Methodologies
October 1 | Online | 2:30 PM – 3:45 PM
Indigenous research scholar Dr. Margaret Kovach, discusses "Indigenous Research and Indigenous Methodologies: Convergences and Divergences". This invited colloquium is hosted by the Department of Psychology's Indigenous Reconciliation Committee and the department area of History, Quantitative, and Theoretical Psychology.
Looking ahead: Additional upcoming events
- Taking Action! From Structural Racism to Personal Practices with Eva Jewell | October 6 | Online | 3:00 p.m. – 4:30 p.m.
- Sdahl K’awaas (Lucy Bell) – 2021 Sterling Prize Ceremony and Lecture: Challenging the Role of Museums in an Era of Reconciliation | October 14 | Online | 6:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.
- Truth and Reconciliation Week | September 27 - October 1 | Online
- Returning Home and Pathways to Reconciliation | September 27 | UBC Chan Centre | 11:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m.
- Truth Telling: A first Step toward reconciliation | September 28 | Online | 12:00 p.m. - 1:30 p.m.
- Intergenerational March UBC | September 30 | UBC Indian Residential School History and Dialogue Centre | 11:45 a.m. - 2:00 p.m.
- Drum for the Children | September 30 | Online | 2:15 p.m.
- Sound House Never Forgotten (MOA) | September 30 | UBC Museum of Anthropology Haida House | 7:00 p.m. - 9:00 p.m.
- Britannia Community Centre Orange Shirt Day | September 30 | Vancouver Aboriginal Friendship Centre/Grandview Park | 9:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m.
- Spirit of the Children Society Pipe Ceremony | September 30 | New Westminster Pier Park Festival Lawn | 4:00 p.m. - 6:00 p.m.
Hear Indigenous stories:
- The SFU Library has curated a collection of Indigenous-authored books honouring Residential School survivors. Discover the full list on the library website.
- Sxwpilemaát Siyám, also known as Chief Leanne Joe, of the Squamish Nation joins SFU Public Square for their "On Equity" interview series. Siyám is one of sixteen Hereditary Chiefs of the Squamish Nation and Transformative Storyteller for Economic Reconciliation with Simon Fraser University, Faculty of Environment, Community Economic Development.
Orange shirts are available at SFU:
- On Burnaby Campus from the SFU Bookstore and Spirit Shop. This year’s t-shirt features a heart designed by Tsimshian artist Morgan Asoyuf. The shirts will be on sale for $20 with the proceeds going to the Native Northwest Reconciliation Fund, Orange Shirt Society, and the BC Aboriginal Child Care Association.
- On Vancouver Campus from the Admin Office, by donation with all proceeds going to the Indian Residential School Survivors Society. A table will be set up in the Harbour Centre Lobby Sept 23 from 12-1pm.
- Online from the Bookstore and Spirit Shop store.
Download a Zoom background:
- The SFU Stadium will be lit up orange from Sept 27 to Oct 1 to honour the children who did not come home from residential schools, survivors and their families as part of the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation’s “Light the Country Orange” campaign.
- Reflect upon the Orange Shirt Day flags with the “Every Child Matters” emblem which will be displayed at half-mast at the Burnaby, Surrey and Vancouver campuses from Sept 27 to Oct 1.
- Connect with the Indigenous Student Centre to learn more about Orange Shirt Day, and download digital assets such as Zoom backgrounds. Follow them on Facebook and Instagram for their Orange Shirt Day campaign.
- Read about initiatives to advance reconciliation within the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences at SFU.
- Learn about reconciliation and decolonization with Nahanee Creative’s series of courses for National Truth and Reconciliation Day, lead by SFU alumnus Michelle Nahanee.
- Discover the origins of Orange Shirt Day through founder Phyllis (Jack) Webstad’s personal story.
- Get educated on the legacy and impacts of Canada’s residential school system through The National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation
- Learn about the work SFU is called to in the 2015 Truth and Reconciliation Commission Calls to Action further strengthened by the university’s commitment and support of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.
- Visit the reconciliation website for a summary of SFU’s commitments and actions, the Walk this Path with Us Report, the annual progress reports in full, resources, including courses that cover the topic of residential schools, and ideas for action individuals can take.
- Read President Joy Johnson’s personal commitment to reconciliation at SFU.
Mental health supports
The findings of the unmarked graves at former residential school sites and hidden and difficult truths have been revealed this past year. Supports are available for those who are navigating trauma.
- The Indigenous Student Centre has created a list of resources.
- SFU Health and Counselling has supports available specifically for Indigenous students.
Faculty and staff:
- The Employee and Family Assistance Program is available for faculty, staff and their immediate families.
- The Indian Residential School Survivors Society is available at 1-800-721-0066, along with a 24-hour crisis line at 1-866-925-4419 for those who need immediate support.
- The KUU-US Crisis Line Society provides an Indigenous-specific crisis line available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. It's toll-free and can be reached at 1-800-588-8717.
- The First Nations Health Authority offers support specifically for survivors and families who have been directly impacted by the Indian residential school system.
To add an event, initiative, resource to this page please connect with firstname.lastname@example.org