As Canada’s National Day for Truth and Reconciliation approaches on Sept. 30, Algonquin College plans to honour the lives of those affected by the horrors of the country’s residential school system.
The “Generations Lost: Healing the Legacy of Residential Schools” event will be hosted on campus from Sept. 27 until Oct. 7 in the C-building.
Andre O’Bonsawin, Algonquin College’s director of Indigenous initiatives, worked with the Mamidosewin Centre and the Legacy of Hope Foundation, an Indigenous-led organization that promotes reconciliation efforts across Canada, to create an exhibit to educate students on Canada’s rich Indigenous history
“Instead of reflecting on one day, we felt it important that students have more time to recognize Indigenous people,” said O’Bonsawin. “The Legacy of Hope was kind enough to share their exhibit with us.”
On Sept. 30, Algonquin College will be hosting an all-day memorial fire in the Ishkodewan Indigenous courtyard and a talking circle for Indigenous students. Students are invited to drop by the Mamidosewin Centre to make a button in support of Orange Shirt Day. This is also happening in the hallway outside Savoir Faire in E Building on Sept. 29, between 11:30 a.m. and 1 p.m.
The new federal holiday coincides with Orange Shirt Day, which was created in 2013 to honour Indigenous children.
“To some, it may seem Orange Shirt Day is being replaced with the National Day of Truth and Reconciliation, however, that’s not it at all,” said O’Bonsawin. “This just gives us another opportunity to remember, to reflect, and to honour missing and murdered Indigenous women and children, residential school survivors and Indigenous peoples.”
Canadians are encouraged to wear orange and engage in meaningful conversations to recognize past transgressions on Indigenous people.
“We are doing a lot of work to indigenize and imbed indigenous ways of knowing on campus,” said O’Bonsawin. “It is a must that the college reflects on these days to honour Indigenous people.”