SFU's National Day for Truth and Reconciliation graphic is a subtle expression of Etuaptmumk (Two-Eyed Seeing), a guiding principle developed by Mi’kmaq Elder Albert Marshall that recognizes better outcomes are more likely if we bring two or more perspectives into collaboration. The design was developed between SFU designers and the Office for Aboriginal Peoples. The image suggests Western perspective (SFU’s AQ) in partnership with the Indigenous perspective (Longhouse facade) to advance Truth and Reconciliation.

National Day for Truth and Reconciliation

September 30th marks the annual 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.

SFU’s events and activities to commemorate Orange Shirt Day will take place during the weeks of September 25 and October 2 across our three campuses. Students, faculty and staff are encouraged to wear orange during this time to pay respect and stand in solidarity with Indigenous communities across Canada.

Upholding truth and reconciliation is also one of SFU's new strategic priorities. Learn more about What's Next for truth and reconciliation at SFU.

We call on all of us who are settlers on these lands to deepen your understanding of the history and ongoing legacy of residential schools, to participate in initiatives happening across the university and consider what commitments you can make and actions you can take to advance reconciliation.

Here are some ways for you to get involved:

Attend an event:

Featured event

10th Anniversary of Orange Shirt Day with Founder Phyllis Webstad
October 4 | Leslie & Gordon Diamond Family Auditorium | 10:30 a.m. - 12 p.m.

Join the founder of Orange Shirt Day, Phyllis Webstad, at a special campus event to raise awareness of the legacy and ongoing impacts of Indian Residential School system and honour those impacted.

Exhibit: Hartmut Lutz Collection of Indigenous Literature
Fall 2023 Semester | Bennett Library, Special Collections

The Hartmut Lutz Collection of Indigenous Literature contains over 1000 books by Canadian and American Indigenous authors and on Indigenous subjects, and was donated to SFU Library’s Special Collections and Rare Books in 2018. This exhibit selection represents storytelling and their adaptation in Canada and the United States. The display showcases authors from various Nations across the North American continent, but it is not exhaustive.

Indigenous Education Week with the Faculty of Education
September 25-29

The Office of Indigenous Education hosts Indigenous Education Week – an opportunity to review our individual and collective commitments towards meaningful reconciliation.

Truth and Reconciliation–Learning to Unlearn
September 25, Saywell Hall Atrium; September 26, SRYC Mezzanine; September 27, Harbour Centre Concourse | 11 a.m. - 4 p.m.

Come together to learn to unlearn and commit to one of Truth & Reconciliation Commission’s 94 Calls to Action. The Social Echoes, a group affiliated with SFU’s Centre for Restorative Justice, is hosting three events for students, faculty, and staff at SFU's three campuses. Gain knowledge, challenge your beliefs, and discover ways to make a lasting impact.

Angela Sterritt: Indigenous Women’s Knowledge, Power & Human Security
September 25 | Harbour Centre Room 1400 | 5 - 7 p.m.

Esteemed author and journalist Angela Sterritt delves into her national bestselling book, Unbroken. She shares how her experiences have shaped her understanding of insecurity, the barriers to safety that Indigenous people navigate and actively push against, highlighting Indigenous women's inherent strength to support, survive and heal.

Reflecting on Truth & Reconciliation: Decolonizing Teaching Journeys at SFU
September 26 | Halpern Centre 114 | 10:30 a.m. - 12 p.m.

Join SFU faculty panelists, the Centre for Educational Excellence and TILT for an opportunity to discuss how some instructors have responded to the challenge of decolonizing their courses and teaching. This in-person, interdisciplinary conversation will include practical and thoughtful suggestions for intentional next steps, with curated resources and an invitation to consultation.

One Year Later: A Look Back at a New Indigenous Classic
September 27 | Harbour Centre, room 2270 | 12 -1 p.m.

Award-winning author, William Lindsay, in conversation with SFU’s Am Johal, will discuss his crucially acclaimed novel, Rez Dog Blues & The Haiku: A Savage Life in Bits and Pieces and about the transformative impact of sharing his life as an Indigenous youth in print.

Salish Singing and Drumming Workshop
September 27 | Goldcorp Centre for the Arts | 6 - 7:30 p.m.

Try your hand at Salish singing and drumming with Russell Wallace, a composer, producer, and traditional Lil’wat singer. Wallace has been part of award-winning recording groups such as Kalan Wi and Spiritual Warriors, and his music has been part of a number of film and television soundtracks and theatre/dance productions. In 2019 Wallace was the artist in residence with the TD Vancouver International Jazz Festival.

CCDI Webinar: Moving from reconciliation to reconciliACTION: Engaging and supporting Indigenous communities
September 28 | Online | 10 - 11 a.m. (1 p.m. EDT)

It has now been eight years since the Truth and Reconciliation Commission released their 94 Calls to Action, and many organizations are now beginning to take their first steps in establishing authentic relationships with Indigenous communities. Join the CCDI for this panel discussion with Indigenous leaders and allies alike as we ask the question: where should organizations focus their resources and energy to ensure the longevity and health of those connections and start to create safer working environments for Indigenous employees?

A Tour of SFU Library’s Indigenous Curriculum Resource Centre
September 28 | Bennett Library, Indigenous Curriculum Resource Centre | 11 a.m.

The Indigenous Curriculum Resource Centre (ICRC) was developed to support SFU community members to learn about (and implement) decolonization and Indigenization for their classroom practices and pedagogy. Join Indigenous Initiatives Librarian Ashley Edwards for a tour of the ICRC! She’ll share information about the space design, artwork, and what you can expect to find in the collection, while also introducing the classification system used.

SEE Dialogue on The Nexus of Indigenous Knowledge and Sustainability
September 29 | SRYE 4016 | 10 - 11:30 a.m.

Join Cliff Atleo, Marianne Ignace and others for a presentation and interactive, moderated dialogue incorporating perspectives related to how sustainability concepts are integrated into Indigenous knowledge and practices, and how this knowledge can guide us to overcome global challenges.

Skookum Surrey–National  Day For Truth and Reconciliation
September 29 | Holland Park | 3 p.m. - 5 p.m.

To mark National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, join the Surrey Urban Indigenous Leadership Committee (SUILC) for an afternoon of drumming, storytelling, coffee, tea and bannock. This event will be rain or shine. Guests are encouraged to wear an orange shirt and bring their drums.

Root Dwellers Music Showcase: National Truth & Reconciliation Day Event
September 29 | The Anza Club | 8-11:30 p.m.

Root Dwellers presents Indigenous music artists Lil Smudge (Hip-Hop/R&B) and Yellow Bunny (Alternative/Hip-Hop). Purchase tickets in advance on Eventbrite. This event is 19+.

Looking ahead: Additional upcoming events

Read and listen to Indigenous stories:

Show your support:

Orange shirts

Orange shirts are available at SFU:

  • On Burnaby Campus from the SFU Bookstore and Spirit Shop and online. This year, two designs are available, created by Cree and Blackfoot artist Marie Babisky. Both shirts will be on sale for $12 with the proceeds going to the Vancouver Aboriginal Community Policing Centre. For department orders email: retail@sfu.ca
  • On Vancouver Campus from the Admin Office, by donation with all proceeds going to the Indian Residential School Survivors Society. Stop by Harbour Centre 2000 from Sept 27-29, or a table will be set up outside of Harbour Centre 2270 on Sept 27 from 12-1 p.m.

Zoom backgrounds

Download a Zoom background:

Get connected:

  • Reflect upon the Orange Shirt Day flags with the “Every Child Matters” emblem which will be displayed at half-mast at the Burnaby and Vancouver campuses from Sept 25 to Oct 2.
  • 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.
  • Register for San’yas Anti-Racism Indigenous Cultural Safety Training, a unique, facilitated on-line training program designed to increase knowledge, enhance self-awareness, and strengthen the skills, available to both SFU faculty and staff.
  • Learn about reconciliation and decolonization with Nahanee Creative’s on-demand workshops, founded by SFU alumnus Michelle Nahanee.

Access resources:

Learning resources

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.


Faculty and staff:


  • 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 alyssa_quan@sfu.ca