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National Day for Truth and Reconciliation

On June 3, 2021, a bill creating a statutory holiday for federal employees every September 30 was given royal assent. This event, known as National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, allows us to reflect upon the tragic legacy of the Residential School System and mourn those lost because of them. The terrible impact of residential schools affecting Indigenous communities and the rest of Canada to this day.

We have celebrated September 30 as Orange Shirt Day in the past. Now, we will take National Day for Truth and Reconciliation as an opportunity to ensure that we recognize the contributions of Indigenous people throughout the UofGH and Humber community and within our country.

As UofGH and Humber College will remain open on September 30, we ask that you support Indigenous staff and students who may want to gather and participate in broader community events or observe the multigenerational impacts of residential schools in a personal way.

Leading up to September 30, UofGH, and our partners at Humber and the University of Guelph will be hosting several events and learning opportunities intended to commemorate National Day for Truth and Reconciliation and Orange Shirt Day. 

Here are some ways you can get involved:

University of Guelph-Humber:

  • Wear an orange shirt to show your solidarity with Indigenous communities and to commemorate those lost and the survivors of the Residential School system. Need to purchase an orange shirt? Consider purchasing your shirt through the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation.
  • Take part in the “Importance of National Day of Truth and Reconciliation and Orange Shirt Day” virtual session with Humber College’s Dean of Indigenous Education and Engagement (IE&E), Jason Seright, UofGH’s Interim Vice-Provost Dr. George Bragues and Psychology Program Head Dr. David Danto. They will discuss the history and significance of these events, and how we can further recognize and support reconciliation efforts and our Indigenous communities across the country. 
  • Attend the ECS Orange Shirt Day Event which will honour the survivors of the Residential School system in Canada and the generations of families impacted by it. Hosted by the Early Childhood Studies program, Kim Wheatly, Anishinaabe Ojibway Grandmother from Shawanaga First Nation Reserve will open the ceremony, followed by a virtual tour of the Former Mohawk Residential School, presented by the Woodland Cultural Centre, and a Q&A session.
    • September 29 from 11 a.m.-1 p.m.
    • To register for this event please contact Aren Sammy.
  • Complete the Four Seasons of Reconciliation training – We are working closely with our partners at Humber College and the IE&E faculty to rollout an educational opportunity for UofGH staff. The course, entitled 4 Seasons of Reconciliation, takes place via Humber’s Blackboard learning system and will promote a renewed relationship between Indigenous Peoples and Canadians through transformative learning about truth and reconciliation. We look forward to sharing more details about this learning opportunity with you soon, so stay tuned.

Other events and initiatives from our partner institutions:

  • Humber College’s Department of Indigenous Education and Engagement (IE&E) will discuss the 2016 Indigenous documentary “Colonization Road.” In the film, activist Ryan McMahon discusses histories of colonialism with Indigenous historians, researchers and policy makers who provide history, context and solutions moving forward into the future.
  • The Centre for Human Rights, Equity & Inclusion, in collaboration with IE&E, is pleased to invite UofGH to the upcoming Equity and Inclusion Dialogue virtual session about the importance of the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation.
    • September 28, 2021 at 1 p.m. Visit the Eventbrite page for additional event and registration information,
  • The University of Guelph is hosting a series of events and initiatives the week of September 27 in recognition of Truth and Reconciliation week. Learn more here.

On September 30, all flags on the UofGH and Humber campus will be lowered in honour of the National Day of Truth and Reconciliation and to commemorate the tragic legacy of residential schools.

Leading up to the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, a number of messages and initiatives will be posted on the UofGH and Humber social media channels. Students, staff and instructors are encouraged to post a photo of themselves wearing an orange shirt on September 30 on social media and/or upload it to the Orange Shirt Day website. Remember to tag @HumberIndig.

As this is a new holiday, we will continue to engage in meaningful discussions with the UofGH community and our partner institutions to find new ways to observe this important holiday in the future. We will continue to listen to and respect Indigenous people through our involvement in these initiatives, striving for Indigenous approval and inclusion in our reconciliation efforts. 

Thank you.

Dr. George Bragues
Interim Vice-Provost and Chief Academic Officer
University of Guelph-Humber