TRUTH AND RECONCILIATION DAY MESSAGE FROM THE GSS
This Friday is a day to recognize the atrocities that have been and continue to be committed against Indigenous communities by colonialism and specifically the residential school system. It is a day to stand in opposition to the generations of people who have propagated anti-Indigenous and racist ideologies, actions and structures. We stand behind and in solidarity with Indigenous peoples, who have known and suffered with the knowledge of these atrocities and have continuously been refused recognition by Canada.
Orange shirt day was established in 2013, years before Truth and Reconciliation day and originated from Phyllis Jack Webstad’s bravery in sharing her own story in Williams Lake, BC. See this story (https://www.orangeshirtday.
org/phyllis-story.html). In May 2021, Chief Rosanne Casimir of Tk’emlups te Secwepemc announced that 215 children’s bodies were found under the once Kamloops Indian Residential School, confirming crimes against humanity that many Indigenous peoples already knew of. Since then, thousands of Indigenous children’s bodies have been identified across the country.
As such, we hope that non-indigenous students will spend this day not as a holiday but as a time to reflect on their privileges, the experiences of Indigenous people, deepen their understanding of colonialism, question their own biases, attend events across the province and wear orange to show your support.
Two events that are being organized near SFU Campuses:
In Vancouver the Nisga’a Ts’amiks Vancouver Society is hosting an event at Trout Lake on Friday from 1pm-4pm
Surrey Campus will be hosting an event on Friday from 2pm – 4pm at Holland Park:
There are many more events happening in communities through these territories, please seek out events closer to you if these are not accessible.
EDUCATION & RESOURCES
The GSS remains committed to assisting our members in gaining a better understanding by providing information on residential schools and Canada’s colonial policies towards Indigenous peoples. A link to our statement and educational resources following the Tk’emlúps te Secwe̓pemc discovery can be found here: https://sfugradsociety.ca/
residential-schools-tragic- discoveries/ along with additional resources added recently here: https://sfugradsociety. ca/september-30th-truth-and- reconciliation-day-in-canada/
Additional Resources are also available through the SFU Indigenous Student Centre: https://www.sfu.ca/students/
For mental health and other supports for Indigenous students see: