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Ivey engages in Truth and Reconciliation activities

Sep 26, 2022

National Day for Truth and Reconciliation

The Ivey community is invited to commemorate Canada’s National Day for Truth and Reconciliation (NDTR) through various activities throughout the week aimed at advancing reconciliation efforts.

Ivey students, staff, and faculty are being encouraged to reflect on Call to Action no. 92 of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission's Calls to Action and ways they can personally commit to practicing reconciliation. Call to Action no. 92 asks Canada’s corporate sector to apply a reconciliation framework to corporate policy and operational activities involving Indigenous peoples and their lands and resources. For inspiration, check out the resource, 12 Ways to Engage in Reconciliation at Western.

Creating a better future

Starting today and for the rest of this week, community members can share their reflections and commitments either digitally through an online form or on display boards with orange Post-it notes throughout the Ivey building. The contributed commitments will later be turned into specific actions for the community to take through a larger project. Those who are uncomfortable sharing are still encouraged to make a commitment and work toward it at their own pace.

Erin Huner, Director of Culture and Inclusion, says she hopes community members will learn through this exercise that reconciliation needs to be an important part of Ivey’s equity and inclusion work along with a commitment to design decolonial practices in partnership with Indigenous peoples.

Huner said the School’s approach to decolonization must be shaped by those Indigenous voices that have not been afforded privilege, power, or sovereignty through processes of colonization and, to do so, we must become constant and intentional learners.

Learning from Indigenous knowledge

“We need to recognize that a commitment to reconciliation requires that we reimagine our research relationships with Indigenous peoples and Indigenous knowledge systems, such that we understand Indigenous knowledge is not ours to discover,” she said. “Rather, as a settler institution, we have a responsibility to take up the role of a learner: we must learn from Indigenous knowledge.”

In addition, Huner said we must recognize that there is much work to be done, and the practice of reconciliation requires sustained commitment to actions and to an ongoing process of confronting the places within current financial systems and sectors where Indigenous voices are absent.

“At the core of this work, we need to centre a practice of allyship where, instead of claiming to be allies, we shift our focus and critically ask: who claims me as an ally?,” she said.

We must recognize that it is our collective actions, commitments, partnerships, and collaborations with the Indigenous community that centres the work of allyship and a practice of reconciliation.”
– Erin Huner

Recognizing Orange Shirt Day

Since September 30 is also Orange Shirt Day, community members are invited to wear orange t-shirts or ribbons to honour survivors of residential schools and commemorate those who never returned. Orange ribbons will be available in baskets around the first floor of the Ivey building all week.

Additionally, Ivey faculty and staff are encouraged to begin classes, meetings, and events with the Western Land Acknowledgement, which pays respect to the Original Peoples of the territory upon which the university is physically located and recognizes the important presence of Indigenous Peoples in educational settings. Learn more about land acknowledgements at Western University’s More Than Words guide.

Campus-wide Truth and Reconciliation events

Western’s Office of Indigenous Initiatives (OII) has also organized many events and activities for the university community. Today’s events begin with an opening ceremony with elders at 9:45 a.m. followed by remarks on the importance of NDTR from Western University President Alan Shepard; Christy Bressette, Western's first Vice-Provost and Associate Vice-President of Indigenous Initiatives; and Jody Noah, Co-Chair of Western’s Indigenous Postsecondary Education Council and Southern First Nations Secretariat. There will also be a flag-raising ceremony at 10:30 a.m., a panel discussion at 6 p.m. on the importance of Indigenous language revitalization, and an orange lights ceremony at 8:30 p.m.

Additional events later this week include a concert, a new episode of the Mbwaachi'diwag Podcast, and the launch of the OII’s new Memegwaanh Indigenous Learning Honour, which recognizes students’ engagement in efforts towards Truth and Reconciliation during their time at Western.

View the full list of events.