National Day for Truth and Reconciliation

September 27, 2021

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.

The findings of the unmarked graves at former residential school sites and the hidden and difficult truths revealed this past year further illuminate the responsibilities post-secondary institutions like SFU have in reconciliation. We must educate and promote awareness, so that this tragic history and ongoing impact is not forgotten.

SFU has obligations to recognize, not just the land on which our campuses reside but also the legacy of colonization. We need to move forward in a positive way to restore relationships with Indigenous communities through meaningful action.

Progress toward reconciliation is happening across our three campuses that reside on the unceded territories of Indigenous peoples, but we know that there is a great deal more to be done.

Reconciliation requires a sustained and ongoing commitment from each of us and a collective and shared responsibility across our university.

I encourage SFU students, faculty and staff to wear an orange shirt during the week of September 27, to pay respect and stand in solidarity with Indigenous communities across Canada.

Please take time to participate in the many initiatives happening across our university, to learn more about the history and ongoing legacy of residential schools and to consider what each of us can do, as individuals, to bring action to advancing reconciliation with Indigenous people.

The dominant theme through the feedback and discussions of the 2017 SFU-ARC Walk This Path With Us report, is “nothing about us without us”. This directive is in my thoughts as I reflect on the meaning behind the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, and I hope you do too, as we continue on this healing journey together.


Joy Johnson