Our University’s Blackfoot name is Iniskim, meaning Sacred Buffalo Stone, and was gifted to us by Elder Bruce Wolf Child in 2002. The University of Lethbridge acknowledges and deeply appreciates the Siksikaitsitapii peoples’ connection to their traditional territory. We, as people living and benefiting from Blackfoot Confederacy traditional territory, honour the traditions of people who have cared for this land.
The University of Lethbridge has long been at the forefront of creating opportunities to learn of and learn from Indigenous Peoples. Never has this been more important than it is now. The recent announcement by our federal government to mark September 30 as a National Day for Truth and Reconciliation is one to be embraced, for it is an opportunity to reflect upon a painful and unjust part of our Canadian history on the broadest of scales.
Truth and reconciliation are foundations upon which we can rebuild and restore relationships with Indigenous people, and more specifically the people of the Blackfoot Confederacy. Reconciliation cannot begin without first speaking the truth about Indian Residential Schools and owning our shared history and the legacy it has created. This is a difficult and necessary acknowledgment that requires learning an authenticated truth from Indigenous knowledge keepers, and unlearning myths and misinformation perpetuated to obfuscate the past.
The University of Lethbridge, as part of its commitment to build an inclusive, welcoming and supportive environment where all students, staff and faculty feel seen, heard and valued is presented with an opportunity to be a leader in writing a new story of authentic reconciliation.
This week of truth and reconciliation events is a call to action for each of us to participate and engage, to learn and unlearn and to take meaningful action. The journey to building an inclusive, equitable and decolonized campus for all is before us. This week presents opportunities to advance true reconciliation and healing between Indigenous and Non-Indigenous people and we urge everyone to take advantage of the unique resources available.
If we are truly committed to building a better tomorrow, it starts with the actions we take today. Please consider donating to the Iikaisskini Student Initiatives Fund, which supports programming for Indigenous uLethbridge students. Let us make our actions meaningful and truly lead our community.
Learn more about how you can get involved. More details are shared on this website.
By honouring Indigenous residential school survivors, their families, and communities on National Truth and Reconciliation Day, some individuals may experience a series of reactions, including renewed trauma, grief and anger. There are resources available through the University, and within the community for students and employees to access support. These resources and supports are shared below.
Mike Mahon, PhD
President & Vice-Chancellor
University of Lethbridge
Martha Mathurin Moe, BA MEd
Equity, Diversity and Inclusion
University of Lethbridge