To MSVU students, faculty and staff,
September 30 is the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation in Canada. Established as a statutory holiday in 2021 in response to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Call-to-Action #80, “The day honours the children who never returned home and Survivors of residential schools, as well as their families and communities.” (gc.ca)
September 30 is also Orange Shirt Day. “The annual Orange Shirt Day … opens the door to global conversation on all aspects of Residential Schools. It is an opportunity to create meaningful discussion about the effects of Residential Schools and the legacy they have left behind.” (orangeshirtday.org)
At the heart of both events is a critical need for all Canadians – in particular settlers to Turtle Island – to engage in personal reflection, education, and continued action to help foster meaningful Truth and Reconciliation.
That’s why I’m asking you to spend some time this September 30 reflecting on how you can contribute to Truth and Reconciliation efforts, and, if you’re comfortable doing so, sharing your reflection on social media using #TruthAndReconciliation.
I’ll go first. My personal journey in Truth and Reconciliation has been informed mainly during my time in Atikameksheng Anishnawbek territory. I reflect on this to understand that actions that I take toward Truth and Reconciliation should not be actions that reduce my own discomfort, but those that will have a real impact on the healing that is needed in this country and others.
While I encourage you to wear your orange shirt on Sept 30, please remember to bring your actions toward Truth and Reconciliation EVERY DAY.
Reflecting on my time at MSVU so far brings to mind all that I’ve learned (and will continue to learn) from Patrick Small Legs-Nagge, Special Advisor to MSVU on Indigenous Affairs. Patrick has shared a reflection of his own that I encourage you to read – please see below.
Dr. Joël Dickinson
President and Vice-Chancellor
Mount Saint Vincent University
A message from Patrick Small Legs-Nagge
Special Advisor on Indigenous Affairs at MSVU
This Friday, September 30th, marks National Day for Truth & Reconciliation. Please take some time during the day to reflect on what you can do as an individual, family or community around reconciliation. The more the truth comes out there is a need to rebuild or build relations with Indigenous Peoples across the country. Terms that we are hearing more of include “not honoring Treaties, Stolen lands, how did we become enemies, genocide, racism, oppression” and so forth. Now is a time to understand that the history of Indigenous and Settlers in this country were two different stories, but only one history was brought forward – the Settlers. Now is the time to truly understand true Canadian history, which means learning of First Nation, Inuit and Métis People in this country or from their Territories.
The History Channel honors National Day for Truth & Reconciliation with a groundbreaking Canadian original documentary “True Story.” It is to be aired at 10:00 p.m. AST, so maybe record it if you are unable to watch in its entirety Friday evening. This documentary explores the relationship between Indigenous and Settlers within Canada.
There are additional observances coming up that provide opportunities for reflection and education. Mark your calendars for Treaty Day on October 1, the National Day of Action for Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls on October 4, and Mi’kmaq History Month all October long.
Looking for education and event opportunities?
- Explore the resources available within the Indigenous Resource Hub on the MSVU website;
- Visit the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation online;
- Review the report and calls to justice of the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls;
- Events previously planned for this Friday and Saturday on the Halifax waterfront and led by the Mi’kmaw Native Friendship Centre are being rescheduled in the aftermath of Hurricane Fiona.
Watch the Friendship Centre’s Facebook page for updates. Details of events at MSVU to come.