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Truth and reconciliation

President Vianne Timmons invites you to participate in upcoming activities

Campus and Community

By Dr. Vianne Timmons

This Thursday, Sept. 30, Memorial University will be closed to mark the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation.

This is an opportunity for us all to reflect on the historic and current injustices faced by Indigenous Peoples and to learn about what we can do to live up to the Truth and Reconciliation Calls to Action.

On Wednesday, Sept. 29, Memorial will mark Orange Shirt Day across all campuses and locations. On the St. John’s campus, all are welcome to join an in-person event at 3 p.m. to spread awareness.

On the left is a stylized illustration of a bear paw in black with "every child matters" in white on the paw. Underneath is "Orange Shirt Day, the bear paw is a symbol of family and strength" written in black. On the right is an orange square with "Orange Shirt Day Sept. 29" in white letters.

On Thursday, Sept. 30, Memorial University campuses in St. John’s and Corner Brook will be lighting campus landmarks orange.

Wearing or displaying orange is a symbol of solidarity with those who survived residential schools and an act of remembrance for those who never made it home. More information about Orange Shirt Day is available from First Light. I will be wearing my orange shirt and I hope you will, too.

I will also be re-reading Memorial’s Strategic Framework for Indigenization. This framework was built collaboratively and we must continue to work together to both Indigenize and decolonize Memorial. As Transforming our Horizons, our strategic plan, says, Memorial must be intentional and deliberate in our commitment towards anti-racism, Indigenization, decolonization and reconciliation. Equity, inclusion and accessibility must be embedded into the very fabric and physical structures of all we offer.

With that in mind, this week Saqamaw Dr. Mi’sel Joe, Elder Dr. Calvin White, Vice-President Catharyn Andersen and Indigenous students, faculty and staff will officially open the Indigenous Student Resource Centre at 208 Elizabeth Ave. on the St. John’s campus. This space is meant to be a home away from home where students can gather, work and thrive in an inclusive community that honours Indigenous Peoples. All are welcome there and I hope you’ll take the time to visit in the near future.

If you’re on the West Coast this weekend, I hope you’ll attend the fifth annual Grenfell Campus All Nations Powwow for a celebration of Indigenous art, culture and tradition.

On Thursday, Sept. 30, I hope that you will join me in reflecting on the past and continuing on the journey of reconciliation.

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