Friday, September 30 is National Day for Truth and Reconciliation (NDTR) in Canada, honouring the children who never returned home from residential school and survivors, as well as their families and communities. In support of this important annual moment of collective reflection, the university will be offering activities and opportunities for students, faculty, and staff to learn, engage, and act toward advancing reconciliation both on and off campus. All university classes are cancelled Friday afternoon and School of Nursing lectures and labs will be cancelled in both the morning and afternoon.
An important aspect of Truth and Reconciliation work is committing to your own awareness and self-education of the complex histories and ongoing issues facing Indigenous Peoples across Turtle Island. We encourage all Nursing students, staff and faculty to engage with the resources outlined below, both on September 30th, and every day, as you engage with the principles and ideas of reconciliation.
Here is a broad look at how NDTR is being observed across campus and how you can participate:
- Elder Wendy Phillips will be giving a talk, 'Reconciliation and Healing the Spirit', open to the QHS community on September 30th, from 10-11 a.m. in 132A in the School of Medicine building (live stream link). The event is organized by the Indigenous Health Standing Committee at Queen's School of Medicine.
- Learn more about a new Queen’s Health Sciences (QHS) initiative breaking down the barriers to education for Indigenous youth. The summer program for high school students from the western James Bay coast is part of an ongoing collaboration between QHS and the Weeneebayko Area Health Authority (WAHA), a healthcare network in Northern Ontario.
- To learn about all of the upcoming NDTR activities, events, and resources visit the Office of Indigenous Initiatives website.
- An art installation led by students from the Indigenous Health Standing Committee can be viewed in the main lobby of the School of Medicine building (15 Arch St.) until October 7th. Based on a similar art project at the Museum of Anthropology at UBC, it features hundreds of orange paper t-shirts with messages of remembrance and reflection that have been collected from Queen’s community members over the past several weeks.
- There will be a campus-wide Sacred Fire happening that day from 1 – 3 p.m. at Agnes Benidickson Field open to all Queen’s community members (either in-person or online). It will feature ceremonial elements and remarks from local Indigenous and university leaders with the intent to reflect on the legacy of Indigenous residential schools in Canada and seek to re-affirm the university’s commitment to advancing reconciliation.
- Wearing an orange shirt on NDTR is encouraged. Learn about the origins of this day, also known as “Orange shirt day”. Queen’s will have orange shirts available for students at various locations and times across campus leading up to September 30.
- Orange shirts will be hung on the lamp poles lining University Avenue, just as the red dresses were displayed for the National Day of Awareness for Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women, Girls, and Gender Diverse People in May.
Reflecting on residential schools and their impacts may trigger difficult emotions. Support services are available at Four Directions for Indigenous students, and the Office of Indigenous Initiatives (Elders) for Indigenous staff and faculty. Support services are also available at Student Wellness Services and through other counselling resources for students. The Employee and Family Assistance Program can offer services for staff and faculty.