On September 30, the University of Lethbridge (Iniskim) will recognize the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation. The day honours the children who never returned home and survivors of residential schools, as well as their families and communities.
Reconciliation is the foundation upon which we must rebuild and restore relationships with the Indigenous Peoples of Canada, and more specifically the people of the Blackfoot Confederacy. A key step towards meaningful reconciliation starts with tangible actions that respond to the 94 Calls as set out by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.
In response, this year’s Truth and Reconciliation Week will mark the beginning of the Iniskim Truth and Reconciliation Calls to Action Challenge on our campus. This year’s challenge is about accountability and truly living up to the commitment to create safe inclusive spaces for all Indigenous students, staff and faculty. We invite you to attend the Iniskim Truth and Reconciliation Calls to Action Challenge Launch on Tuesday, Sept. 26, at 11:30 a.m. in the UHall Atrium. This will be an opportunity for our community to come together to pledge our personal and collective commitments to Truth and Reconciliation.
True reconciliation comes through acknowledging and addressing the wrongs that have been perpetuated by post-secondary institutions throughout our country over many years, by teaching the truths of our country’s dark history of residential schools, and by moving forward in an effort to rebuild and revitalize the relationship between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples.
This week, as we journey towards the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, take some time to read and understand the 94 Calls to Action from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, as well as the UNDRIP declaration from the United Nations. As you read, identify at least one goal towards which you want to take meaningful action to advance reconciliation.
The University has many activities planned throughout the week. A special thanks to Iniskim Indigenous Relations, specifically Iikaisskini Indigenous Services and the campus collaborators, for putting on a full schedule of events for our ULethbridge community to learn more about meaning and intent on the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation. For more information about this week’s events please review the schedule.
This year, National Day for Truth and Reconciliation falls on Saturday, Sept. 30. To provide space and time for reflection, there will be no classes and University offices will be closed on Friday, Sept. 29. The University’s decision to observe this day is consistent with the University’s commitment to indigenization, and specifically the Truth and Reconciliation process.
Dr. Digvir Jayas, OC, PhD, DSc, PEng, PAg, FRSC Dr. Leroy Little Bear (BASc (BA) ’72, DASc ’04), Iikaisskini (Low Horn)
President & Vice-Chancellor Vice-Provost, Iniskim Indigenous Relations
Learn more about the events and activities taking place during Truth and Reconciliation week from September 25-30, 2023.
For the week of September 25-30, we encourage all to wear orange in honour of the thousands of Survivors of residential schools. The Bookstore is selling orange t-shirts both in-store and online. A portion of the sales will be donated to Iikaisskini Indigenous Services for activities to support reconciliation and Indigenous student initiatives. Thanks to the Orange Shirt Society and Phyllis Webstad for their support of this initiative.