— Steffanie Scott
Next Thursday, September 30, is the first National Day for Truth and Reconciliation (also known as Orange Shirt Day), a federal statutory holiday declared in response to Call to Action 80 from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada, which reads:
We call upon the federal government, in collaboration with Aboriginal peoples, to establish, as a statutory holiday, a National Day for Truth and Reconciliation to honour Survivors, their families, and communities, and ensure that public commemoration of the history and legacy of residential schools remains a vital component of the reconciliation process.
The Office of Indigenous Initiatives is hosting a number of related events this month, and there are things you can do in your classes or in your work—in any discipline—to use this day as an opportunity for reflection and/or action.
Truth & Reconciliation Calls to Action and universities
Two of the TRC calls to action most often referenced in relation to universities are numbers 62 and 65 (emphasis added):
62: We call upon the federal, provincial, and territorial governments, in consultation and collaboration with Survivors, Aboriginal peoples, and educators, to: […] Provide the necessary funding to post-secondary institutions to educate teachers on how to integrate Indigenous knowledge and teaching methods into classrooms.
65: We call upon the federal government, through the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council, and in collaboration with Aboriginal peoples, post-secondary institutions and educators, and the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation and its partner institutions, to establish a national research program with multi-year funding to advance understanding of reconciliation.
In the absence of these Truth & Reconciliation Calls to Action being met by the government (alongside most of the other 92 calls), we as university instructors and faculty members can still do a lot to support them. As noted on the UW Indigenous Initiatives’ Truth and Reconciliation webpage, The TRC Calls to Action provide a platform for work to:
- mobilize debate and discussion
- create spaces to share knowledges and research
- access resources of new and renewed disciplines, methodologies, and practices
- acknowledge the heterogeneity of Indigenous peoples and pedagogies
- work together toward decolonization
September 30 is an opportune moment to put this into practice in your classroom, especially if you have not already been doing so.Continue reading “What will you do in your classroom for the September 30 National Day for Truth & Reconciliation?”