Trent Statement of Solidarity
Canada has designated September 30 as a National Day of Truth and Reconciliation. This is a day for everyone to reflect on the history between First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples and settler Canadians and to further our understanding of the injustices of the last centuries. We are asked to make space for and understand the truth of Indigenous Peoples experiences. We are asked to contemplate our own individual role in changing Canada and our communities into places of dignity and respect for Indigenous Peoples.
On this day, as an educational institution, we acknowledge the legacy of residential and day schools and the devastating impact they have had on Indigenous Peoples, their cultures, communities and families. We acknowledge and honour those who survived and who have worked hard to ensure that these actions never happen again. We mourn those who lost their lives in these places.
We use this day to recommit ourselves to a different future, to educating new generations of young people as future leaders of reconciliation. We use this day to recommit ourselves to assisting in the resurgence of Indigenous cultures, languages, traditions, knowledge and thought. We commit ourselves to building the world Chanie Wenjack was running towards.
Honouring Truth & Reconciliation Day
September 30 is the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation to acknowledge the intergenerational impact of residential schools, while honouring the process of reconciliation. It is intended to be a day for education and reflection. September 30 is also known as Orange Shirt Day, a legacy of the St. Joseph Mission (SJM) residential school commemoration event held in Williams Lake, BC, Canada, in the spring of 2013. It grew out of the account of a young girl, Phyllis, having her shiny new orange shirt taken away on her first day of school at the Mission. This has provided us with an opportunity to keep the discussion on all aspects of residential schools happening annually. The date was chosen because it is the time of year when children were taken from their homes to residential schools, and because it is an opportunity to set the stage for the continued creation of a safe, equitable and inclusive school environment as the school year begins.
Orange Shirt Day is also an opportunity for First Nations, local governments, schools and communities to come together in the spirit of reconciliation and hope for generations of children to come. On this day, we wear orange to remember the experiences of former students of Residential Schools and to commit to ongoing reconciliation
For more than 50 years, Trent has been a leader in Indigenous education and incorporating traditional teachings and perspectives into curricular and extra-curricular programming. We are committed to providing education in Indigenous history, traditions, cultures, and Indigenous knowledges (IK) for our students and broader community.
To advance the goals of National Day for Truth & Reconciliation Day, we have pulled together a variety of resources to assist members of the Trent community to learn, reflect, and take action to advance reconciliation.
Take part in events on campus
- Sunrise Ceremony, Mnidoowag A‘Kiing Traditional Area, Enwayaang, 6:00 a.m.
- Heart Garden Reflection, Kerr House, Traill College, 9:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.,
- Settlers Taking Action and Responsibility at Trent Booth, Bata Library Podium, 10:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m.
- Gzowski College Three Sisters Community Lunch (while supplies last), 12:00 p.m. (noon)
- Community Sacred Fire, Champlain College Fire Pit, 12:00 p.m. - 4:00 p.m.
- Warming Room, 12:00 p.m. - 4:00 p.m., SC W6 – outside SC137 lecture hall
- Campus Reflection & Moment of Silence, Champlain College Fire Pit, 2:00 p.m. with a moment of silence at 2:15 p.m.
- Truth Before Reconciliation: Indian Residential and Day School Histories, by Prof Jackson Pind, First Peoples Gathering Space, at 3:00 p.m. and streamed on Zoom (password 682215)
- Round Dance, Bata Library Podium, 4:30 p.m.
- “None of that Witchcraft Dancing” reading and talk by residential school survivor and Elder Shirley Ida Williams and Returning Home film screening, Nozhem First Peoples Performance Space, Enwayaang, 7:00 p.m.
- Interactive art activity, Durham Building B Atrium, 1:30 p.m. - 4:00 p.m.
- Campus Reflection & Moment of Silence, green space in front of Durham Building B, 2:00 p.m. with a moment of silence at 2:15 p.m.
- “None of that Witchcraft Dancing” reading and talk by residential school survivor and Elder Shirley Ida Williams and Returning Home film screening, streamed to Durham Building B room 112, 7:00 p.m.
Counselling services are available at both campus locations to support the Trent community on National Day for Truth and Reconciliation. A sacred fire for Indigenous members of the Trent community will be available at the tipi in Mnidoowag A‘Kiing Traditional Area in Peterborough, and at the campus fire pit at the Durham campus. Drop-in counselling services will be available from 2:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m. at the Durham campus during the reflection ceremony. Counselling support will available in Peterborough during the evening programming in the Nozhem First Peoples Performance Space.
To support the Trent community in actively participating in the events, the University has created video tutorials for smudging and participating in a sacred fire.
In recognition of the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, the flags at both campuses will be lowered to half-mast position on September 30.
Resources to learn and reflect
- Read the Truth and Reconciliation Commission Reports – both the Calls to Action and the testimony of residential school survivors.
Review the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation Archives and Collections.
Learn about the lands on which Trent is situated by viewing the Treaty Display located at the entrance of Bata Library in Peterborough and the Atrium at the Trent University Durham campus.
Learn about Indigenous artists through the Gzowski College self-guided Anishinaabe Art Tour in Enwayaang (brochure in the College Office).
- Read about residential schools and their profound intergenerational impact.
Watch documentaries sharing stories and first-hand experiences of residential school survivors.
Learn about Manoomin and its importance to the local First Nations.
Review the Lesson plans created by the Trent School of Education to teach about residential schools.
Watch Waniska, an awakening of Indigenous Knowledge, and learn from Elders and residential school survivors of the importance of Indigenous Knowledge.
Read and learn from the United Nations Declaration on the rights of Indigenous Peoples.
Take action to support Indigenous communities
To support Indigenous communities and the principles of reconciliation, on the National Day of Truth and Reconciliation the Trent community is encouraged to take action and engage meaningfully in reconciliation:
Offer gratitude through a land acknowledgment.
Become knowledgeable about the local Michi Saagiig First Nations and their protocols.
Learn about the lands on which Trent is situated on.
Support Indigenous businesses, authors and artists.
Share calls to action with your whole family utilizing the First Nations Child & Family Caring Society of Canada’s Guide to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.
Wear an orange shirt to show our support. Purchase yours, designed by Ojibwe artist Miskomin Manidoomin (Sabrina Fontaine) from the TCSA and TDSA offices for $30.
Trent community is encouraged to visit and read books, and resources gathered by Trent Bata Library.