Canada honoured National Day for Truth and Reconciliation to reflect on the nation’s treatment of Indigenous people while celebrating Indigenous communities.
Local leaders chose to participate in the day of remembrance in many ways, ranging from wearing orange shirts to attending sacred ceremonies.
Bryan Paterson, Mayor of Kingston
For Mayor Paterson, the National Day of Truth and Reconciliation is about showing a willingness to learn and acknowledge the impacts of residential schools.
“In my role as mayor, I’m committed to fostering dialogue and learning between Indigenous and non-Indigenous residents as we encourage diverse voices and promote an equal opportunity to be heard,” Paterson said in a statement to The Journal.
Patrick Deane, Queen’s Principal and Vice-Chancellor
Principal Patrick Deane spent Truth and Reconciliation Day reflecting on his personal privilege and acknowledging the past and current injustices Indigenous people face.
“I spent this morning on the farm reflecting on the land on which I have the privilege to live and those whose traditional home this was,” Deane said in a statement to The Journal.
Deane spent his afternoon participating in a Sacred Fire ceremony.
“I felt even more powerfully the responsibility we all have to acknowledge the currents of inhumanity and injustice at the root of our nation, struggle with the persisting resistance to change in our present, and forge a future where true and meaningful reconciliation can be a reality,” Deane said.
Barbara Crow, Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Science
Barbara Crow, dean of the faculty of arts and science, attended a Sacred Fire to observe Truth and Reconciliation Day.
To Crow, Truth and Reconciliation means facing the truth of white settler relations with Indigenous communities and working together to change the relations of power, according to a statement to The Journal.
In her role, Crow advanced the recommendations made by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission by establishing the Indigenous Studies program and Indigenous spaces on campus.
“We have a learning outcome rubric that requires all new courses to share how they’re addressing issues of Indigenous knowledge and decolonization,” Crow added.
Corinna Fitzgerald, Assistant Dean (Student Life and Learning)
This year, Corinna Fitzgerald, assistant dean (student life and learning), recognized National Day of Truth and Reconciliation by attending a Queen’s Men’s Rugby game where players wore a specially designed jersey by local artist Tsiokeriio (Diio) Hagen.
“While there, I was thinking about how young folks can do the work and commit to reconciliation,” Fitzgerald said in a statement to The Journal. “The learning the team did was just as, or more, important than the jersey itself, and I hope other students feel inspired by them to do the work they need to do.”
“I felt that with the work happening related to the TRC Report there was an opportunity where I could be part of bigger change, and help move things forward, in particular to benefit Indigenous learners,” Fitzgerald said.
Truth and Reconciliation is a personal commitment for Fitzgerald, requiring application to her everyday life.
“For me, Sept. 30 is about re-committing to that work. It’s also a sad time, a time to grieve, and I especially consider colleagues and friends who identify as Indigenous, and I try to think about how I show up for them, and to recognize the additional burden they often carry on this day.”
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