The Institute of Indigenous Learning is pleased to offer resources and virtual opportunities to the Fanshawe community to commemorate September 30 and to learn more about truth and reconciliation.
The Government of Canada passed legislation this summer to make September 30 a federal statutory holiday. While it is not a paid public holiday in Ontario, the College is planning to recognize the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation as a day of commemoration.
In the past, many students and staff have chosen to recognize September 30 as Orange Shirt Day, an awareness day that involves wearing orange clothing to honour and commemorate Indigenous children forced into the residential school system. The last residential school closed in the 1990s, but the system's devastating effects are still deeply felt today, especially with the recent and ongoing discoveries of mass graves near several former school sites across Canada.
Orange Shirt Day and the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation share common goals of honouring residential school victims, their families and communities; creating meaningful discussion and reflection about the damaging and intergenerational effects of anti-Indigenous racism; and commemorating the histories and ongoing contributions of the First Peoples in our region, on whose traditional lands our communities stand.
The Institute of Indigenous Learning and departments around the College have organized the following opportunities for the Fanshawe College community to commemorate September 30 and to learn more:
- Truth and Reconciliation Indigenous Panel: Orange Shirt Day (myFanshawe login required for details)
- Orange apparel available for purchase in the Red Zone
- Posters and social media posts by @fanshaweiil
- Digital screens on campus featuring local Indigenous artwork
- Curated selection of Indigenous eBooks in the Library Learning Commons' collection
- On-air features throughout the day on 106.9 The X (CIXX-FM) or online at www.1069thex.com.
Additionally, you are invited to hear and share reflections compiled on IIL's National Truth & Reconciliation Day video crowdsource site on Capsule.
We encourage all students and staff to take time on September 30 to listen, learn, reflect and seek starting points to work together for a better community for all peoples.
Further resources and information
The Institute of Indigenous Learning has recommended the following resources for those interested in learning more.
- "Where Are The Children" by the Legacy of Hope Foundation features stories from survivors and a timeline of the residential school system in Canada (highly recommended).
- The Children Remembered, an archive project documenting United Church run schools, includes a page about Mount Elgin Industrial School – the residential school 40 km south of London which took in children from many local communities.
- The "Mush Hole" (a.k.a. Mohawk Institute in Brantford) – the first Residential school in Canada – is described in this article by the Indian Residential School History and Dialogue Centre.
- This Wikipedia page tracks the numbers and locations of graves found on or near former residential school sites since 1992.
In addition to residential schools, nearly 700 federal and church-run Indian Day Schools operated from the 1860s to 1990s. Click here to see a PDF list of day schools included in a federal class action lawsuit or read more about them here.
The Indian Act:
To read about the impacts and timeline of the Indian Act, click here to read the excerpt "The Indian Act" from chapter two of Pulling Together: The Foundations Guide.
September 27 to October 1 is Truth and Reconciliation Week, a Canada-wide virtual education effort organized by the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation, continuing the conversations from last year's online event, Every Child Matters.