Elder Syexwaliya (Skwxwu7mesh Uxwumixw) opens the first Truth and Reconciliation Day ceremony at SFU

National Day for Truth and Reconciliation at SFU

June 19, 2023

In 2021, the Government of Canada moved to instate September 30, Orange Shirt Day, as a national holiday — the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation. SFU commemorated Truth and Reconciliation Day across the university’s three campuses in 2021 and 2022. Ceremonies featured speakers including Indigenous staff and students at SFU and Elders from local Indigenous communities. Events reflected upon the discovery of 215 unmarked graves in Kamloops in 2021 and celebrated the persistence and resilience of Indigenous peoples and their cultures. SFU continued to focus on its community partnerships, co-hosting a ceremony with the Surrey Urban Indigenous Leadership Committee and the City of Surrey, as well, private events were held for the Indigenous community at SFU, hosted by the Indigenous Student Centre.

SFU President Joy Johnson and Surrey campus Executive Director Steve Dooley joined a drumming procession from Surrey City Hall to Holland Park.
SFU Surrey campus staff attending the Skookum Surrey community event to mark National Day for Truth and Reconciliation
Kali Stierle, a board member of the SFU First Nations, Métis and Inuit Students Association, speaks at the Surrey ceremony.
The community shares reflections on reconciliation and the meaning of Orange Shirt Day.
Gary George, Officer for Community Relations from the SFU Office for Aboriginal Peoples, leads Burnaby campus ceremony attendees in a drum song.
Michael Kelly Gabriel (L) and Kevin Kelly (R) of Kwantlen First Nation lead the 2022 ceremony in Surrey.