Fanshawe community members—both Indigenous and non-Indigenous—may be experiencing a range of emotions relating to recent events surrounding the residential school apology offered by Pope Francis. For some Indigenous students, staff and residential school survivors, it may represent a step toward fulfilling the Truth and Reconciliation Commission calls to action. For others, it may reignite trauma and fall short of acknowledging deeply embedded systemic racism and the intergenerational effects of the atrocities committed in the residential school system. As we pause and collectively reflect on these events, it’s important to recognize that the healing journey is different for each survivor, for each family member and for each community member. These events may impact our students and colleagues in different ways.


The events of these last few weeks serve as an opportunity for reflection from non-Indigenous community members about reconciliation and how to turn apologies and feelings of guilt into true and authentic action. It is an important part of dismantling each and every system of oppression, including colonization and racism, and to think about our individual roles in creating the change we seek.


Below is a list of possible actions and resources to consider as you reflect on your individual role in reconciliation:

1)    Read (or revisit) the Truth and Reconciliation Commission Reports;

2)    Read 21 Things You May Not Have Known About the Indian Act;

3)    Review Fanshawe’s Indigenous Action Plan and the resources offered by the Institute for Indigenous Learning;    

4)    Share what you learned with others as a personal act of reconciliation and allyship, encouraging those close to you to advance reconciliation in their own context;

5)    To jumpstart your thinking about how to take part in reconciliation in your own ways, visit the First Nations Child & Family Caring Society’s Guide to taking part in reconciliation.


Additional Resources:

National Indian Residential School Crisis Line – 1-866-925-4419 (open to all survivors of residential schools, family members, or relatives experiencing the intergenerational effects of trauma)


Homewood Health – Employee and Family Assistance program 24/7 – 1-800-663-1142