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University News | 09.27.21

Adler University Recognizes National Day for Truth and Reconciliation

Adler University recognizes September 30th as the first National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, a day to remember and honour the lost children and survivors of residential schools, their families, and communities. It is also known as Orange Shirt Day and is recognized annually. Canadians are called to reflect on more than 150 years of injustice on the Indigenous people of Canada by wearing orange, listening to stories of Survivors and communities, and setting a tone for schools’ antiracism and anti-bullying policies

Operating between 1831 and 1998, there were roughly 140 federally-run residential schools for Indigenous children, and more than 150,000 Metis, Inuit, and First Nations children were forced to attend. Between 2008 and 2015, survivors, their families and communities shared their experiences with the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, documenting cultural, physical, and mental harm and death caused by school attendance. In May of 2021, the remains of 215 children were discovered by the Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc First Nation, on the grounds of the former Kamloops Indian Residential School. More remains have been located since then and many more searches are underway.

Survivors, their families, and communities advocated for recognition, reparations, and accountability for the legacy of harm caused by these schools. This commemorative holiday is one response to these demands.

Since 2013, The Orange Shirt Society has recognized this day, which coincides with the time of year in which Indigenous children were taken from their homes. Orange Shirt Day is a legacy of a reunion and commemoration project envisioned by Esketemc Chief Fred Robbins. By recognizing this day, Adler University stands with survivors on their healing journey, as well as recognizes and commits to the ongoing process of reconciliation.

The subsequent naming of the day relates to the experiences of Phyllis Webstad, a residential school survivor and spokesperson for Orange Shirt Day. Phyllis was given a new orange shirt by her grandmother, and it was taken away from her on the first day at a residential school at age six. Since September 2019, Phyllis has been touring schools across Canada to share her own experience of attending the residential school and the importance of Orange Shirt Day, which is part of a project called Paths to Reconciliation. This project is a partnership between the Orange Shirt Society, Canadian Heritage, and Canadian Geographic. Learn more about Phyllis Webstad and her efforts to bring Orange Shirt Day around the country here.

Learn more about events, the history of the day, and the Orange Shirt Society on the Orange Shirt Day website. Please join the Adler Vancouver community by wearing orange on September 30, 2021.

Adler Events

Truth and RconciliACTION: Embracing Wisdom from an Elder
Online/Virtual Event
Thursday, September 29, 2021
12:00p.m. – 2:00p.m. PT/2:00p.m. CT (US and Canada)

The Vancouver Campus is holding a special National Day of Truth and Reconciliation event via zoom, to recognize all the Indigenous Children who were found buried on residential school sites in British Columbia and across Canada. Our special guest speaker Hiwus, Hereditary Chief of the Shishá7lh people, will talk with the Adler community on what Truth and Reconciliation mean to him and Indigenous people. Click Here to Register in advance.

Community Events
Intergenerational March to Commemorate Orange Shirt Day
Outside the UBC Indian Residential School History and Dialogue Centre
Thursday, September 30, 2021
11:45a.m. – 2:00p.m.

Additional Resources

First Nations, Inuit, and Metis Peoples

Indian Residential Schools Mental Health Support Program

Residential School History

United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples

Universities Canada Principles on Indigenous Education

Canadian Psychological Association’s response to the TRC report

Event Registration: Marking the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation

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