- Contact Us
National Day for Truth and Reconciliation 2022
This year, the SFU community observed National Day for Truth and Reconciliation with multiple opportunities to reflect upon residential schools, Canada’s colonial history and the path forward to reconciliation.
SFU has held a longstanding partnership with the Surrey Urban Indigenous Leadership Committee and the City of Surrey, who together hosted a ceremony for National Day for Truth and Reconciliation and Orange Shirt Day September 30th.
The ceremony began with a drumming procession from Surrey City Hall to Holland Park, and a welcome from Kevin Kelly and Michael Kelly-Gabriel of Kwantlen First Nation.
“My wife (Kwantlen Hereditary Chief Marilyn Gabriel) doesn’t call them survivors, she calls them warriors. We have to respect the ones that never made it home, but also the ones that are here,” said Kelly.
“Don’t be mad for our people, don’t be sad. All we ask is what we tell you - we come to educate you so you can go home and educate your children, your parents, your grandparents.”
Reflecting on the ceremony, SFU President Joy Johnson wrote: “This event, along with all the Truth and Reconciliation Week activities across SFU, was an important reminder for me that reconciliation and decolonization work requires a sustained commitment from each of us.”
The ceremony also featured a speech from Elder and residential school survivor Eugene Harry (Cowichan), jingle dancers and serving of bannock and tea.
“When we drummed in, I almost cried when I saw the amount of orange shirts out here,” said Kelly. “Thank you for taking time out of your day today to be here and pay your respect to our warriors.”
Kevin Kelly opens the ceremony with welcoming remarks and a reflection.
Michael Kelly-Gabriel shares a few words.
(L-R) Allie Keitlah, Steve Dooley and Nav Chima stand as witness to the ceremony.
World Champion hoop dancer Alex Wells (Lil'wat Nation) performs at the Truth and Reconciliation Night SFU women's volleyball game halftime.
Elder Marie Hooper (L) and Rebecca Salwais (R), SFU ISC Student Life Coordinator. Elder Marie, of Kwikwetlem First Nation welcomed attendees to the game prior to first serve.
The Bennet Library's Truth and Reconciliation window display.
The SFU Library's curated a collection of Indigenous-authored books honouring Residential School survivors.
The Orange Shirt Day book collection and display at the SFU Surrey Fraser Library.
Every Child Matters flags flying at half mast on Burnaby Campus.
Truth, reconciliation and action
National Truth and Reconciliation week began on-campus with the first of a new Monthly Lunch program organized by the Indigenous Student Centre and First Nations, Métis and Inuit Student Association, in order to deepen the connection of the Indigenous community at SFU and help Indigenous students to meet with Indigenous faculty and staff.
The week also saw a number of guest speakers deliver lectures on paths for reconciliation centering Indigenous values and knowledge.
Sxwpilemaát Siyám (Chief Leanne Joe), along with co-author Lily Raphael, presented her framework for economic reconciliation, Step Into the River. From the report released this summer, the framework uses Indigenous worldviews about wealth and sustainability as a source of wisdom for economic transformation.
In “Honouring Ancestral Teachings and Environmental Knowledge in a Time of Urgency: Lessons from the Ninogaad”, Kim Recalma-Clutesi (Qualicum) and Douglas Deur explored how some Indigenous peoples and local communities understand sustainability and resilience and how their traditional worldviews might provide models for more sustainable futures for their communities and others.
Chris (Syeta’xtn) Lewis, director of Indigenous Initiatives and Reconciliation at SFU also moderated a panel at the Burnaby Board of Trade on creating opportunity and working collaboratively with Indigenous communities, organizations, and individuals.
A full list of 2022 events and activities can be found on SFU’s National Day for Truth and Reconciliation page.