UM will recognize the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation
A message from President and Vice-Chancellor Dr. Michael Benarroch; Vice-President (Indigenous) Dr. Catherine Cook; and National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation Executive Director Stephanie Scott
The University of Manitoba is committed to supporting national efforts toward reconciliation, including the federal government’s recent decision to make Sept. 30 the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation.
Reconciliation is always front-of-mind for Canadians on Sept. 30, or Orange Shirt Day. It marks a national day of remembrance – a day to remember the horrendous history and ongoing intergenerational impacts of residential schools, and to honour residential school Survivors and the children who did not return home.
Collective grief and anger recently blanketed communities from coast to coast to coast with the discovery of children’s remains at former residential school sites across Canada. Though the last school closed in the 1990s, the effects of the system and colonization are still deeply felt in communities today.
The National Day for Truth and Reconciliation will become a designated paid closure at the University of Manitoba so students, staff and faculty can reflect on and participate in this integral day. The university will be closed every Sept. 30 going forward.
Beginning with learning the truth is critical to moving forward with reconciliation. Everyone needs to prioritize understanding Indigenous history, taking responsibility and working toward a better Canada for all peoples.
Education is key, and we all must endeavour to learn and unlearn every day. If you are not sure where to begin, read the history of residential schools, Survivors’ stories, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC)’s 94 Calls to Action and other key reports.
The National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation, located at UM’s Fort Garry campus, is planning a number of initiatives to recognize Truth and Reconciliation Week, Orange Shirt Day and now, the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation. We ask everyone across the country to mark Sept. 30 by wearing orange shirts and ‘lighting up’ the country orange.
On Sept. 30 and every day, we must continue to reflect on the tragic history and ongoing legacy of residential schools, either through personal reflection or alongside community. It is critical that we learn about and remember the past, while continuing to facilitate education and advance meaningful change as we look to the future.
A list of events and programming for the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation and Truth and Reconciliation Week is available.