Dear King’s Community,
On Thursday, September 30 our campus community, together with people from across the country, will participate in the first National Day for Truth and Reconciliation in Canadian history.
Indigenous communities have long advocated for greater recognition of the injustices they suffered through forced attendance in Canada’s residential school system, which caused deep and lasting generational trauma. It was for this purpose that a group of residential school survivors named September 30 “Orange Shirt Day” in 2013, initiating a grassroots movement that has been observed by a growing number of Canadians with each year since.
The National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, passed into legislation by the federal government this spring, was created in response to Call to Action 80, one of the 94 Calls to Action published by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission in 2015. The parliamentary bill received Royal Assent on June 3, just days after the remains of 215 children were found buried in unmarked graves on the grounds of the former Kamloops Indian Residential School. In the months since, hundreds more such graves have been found on former residential school properties.
Such unmarked graves were spoken of for years by residential school survivors, only to be ignored. To truly embrace this day and the hope it offers, we can start by recognizing that, for too long, the work of exposing truth has fallen on the shoulders of Indigenous people in Canada. For those of us who are settler Canadians, this need for truth brings with it a responsibility to take on the work of reconciliation and welcome the sea change it must bring.
A web page offering links to resources is now available. There are several links specifically for Indigenous students, faculty and staff. Additionally, there are links to learn more about Indigenous-settler history, truth and reconciliation and related topics. Further information is available on Mi’kmaw Native Friendship Centre. For those who wish to attend events taking place in and around Halifax–Kjipuktuk–to mark the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation as well as Treaty Day, which follows on October 1, you can find events taking place throughout the community on these pages.
President and Vice-Chancellor
King’s is located in Mi’kma’ki, the ancestral and unceded territory of the Mi’kmaq.