National Day for Truth and Reconciliation

The residential school’s crisis line is available 24 hours a day for anyone experiencing pain or distress as a result of a residential school experience. Support is available at 1.866.925.4419.

Sept. 30 marks the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation to honour the lost children and Survivors of residential schools, their families, and communities. It is a day to recognize and reflect on the tragic and painful history and ongoing impacts of residential schools in Canada.

Wilfrid Laurier University will continue to amplify the truth of the continuing legacy of colonial trauma, history of the residential schools and build towards reconciliation. We encourage the university community to engage in learning activities and reflection, as well as give support and care to our Indigenous community members.

Educational Resources

Education, public commemoration and acknowledgement of the tragic and painful history, continued impact, and intergenerational trauma of Canada's residential school legacy is a vital component of the reconciliation process. Learn more about the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada’s (TRC) Calls to Action and Testimonials of Residential School Survivors.

TRC Testimonials of Residential School Survivors

In 2015, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada recorded testimony of more than 6,000 survivors affected by residential schools. These testimonies were published in a report detailing the experiences and impacts of the residential school system, creating a historical record of its legacy and consequences. Read The Survivors Speak for the Survivors’ stories and lived experiences.

TRC Calls to Action

An outcome of the TRC’s report into the history and legacy of the Canadian residential school system was this document detailing 94 calls to action across a wide range of areas including education, health, child welfare, and culture.

Indigenous mural

Continuing Indigenous Education at Laurier

Through Laurier Continuing Education, community members can learn about Indigenous history, knowledge, and practices, and how systems in Canada have impacted Indigenous communities. Explore courses and certificates are offered through the Centre for Indigegogy, Faculty of Social Work (FSW) Professional Development, and the Centre for Public Safety and Well-Being (CPSW).

Four Seasons of Reconciliation

Four Seasons of Reconciliation Course

Four Seasons of Reconciliation is an online cultural literacy training course created in collaboration with First Nations University of Canada. It offers a concise primer on the truths and implications of the historical and contemporary relationship between Indigenous Peoples and those who settled on their lands in Canada.

Four Seasons of Reconciliation is available to Laurier students, faculty and staff on MyLearningSpace.

Laurier’s Indigenous Strategic Plan

The Indigenous Strategic Plan provides a pathway to creating an inclusive university community that incorporates Indigenous knowledges, perspectives and experiences into the fabric of the university. It aligns with the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Calls to Action numbers 10, 11, 16, 62 and 65, which call for improving the gap of educational attainment for Indigenous learners; respecting and honouring treaty relationships; supporting Indigenous languages; integrating Indigenous knowledges and teaching methods into classrooms; and advancing understanding of reconciliation through research.

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Indigenous Strategic Plan: Principles for Indigenization, Reconciliation and Decolonization

Ojibwe artist Mike Cywink collaborates with community to create outdoor mural at Laurier Library

Throughout the summer of 2023, artist Mike Cywink hosted engagement sessions for members of the Laurier and wider community to help create a mural that expresses Laurier’s commitment to reconciliation, decolonization and Indigenization at the university and beyond. Dozens of faculty, staff, students and community members participated in the engagement sessions, learning more about Indigenous storytelling, culture and art. The Indigenous mural project is a collaboration between the Laurier Library, Robert Langen Art Gallery and the Office of Indigenous Initiatives and hangs on the southwest wall of the library on Laurier’s Waterloo campus. The mural was unveiled at a special event in fall of 2023 in recognition of the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation.

Woodland Cultural Centre

Virtual Tour: Mohawk Institute

Register for a virtual tour of the former Mohawk Institute Residential School through the Woodland Cultural Centre.

Charity Fleming speaks truth about Canada's response to Truth and Reconciliation

Laurier alumna Charity Fleming (MSW `09), an Indigenous social worker and an intergenerational survivor of the residential school and sixties scoop programs. She has dedicated her life to aiding the recovery of indigenous people from experiences and impacts of historical trauma.

Charity Fleming

Laurier Scholarship

Discover the work of Laurier’s Indigenous faculty, staff, and community members.

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Elder-in-Residence’s new book explores the ‘sacred space’ of understanding
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Lianne Leddy documents a legacy of colonialism and community resistance in her award-winning book
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Get to know Keri Cheechoo, Laurier’s Grundy Indigenous Scholar
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Giselle Dias discusses Two-Spirit and Indigiqueer perspectives on land-based abolition
Margaret Neveau
Meet Margaret Neveau: Indigenous counsellor uses traditional knowledge for healing at Laurier
Percy Lezard
Laurier researcher ensures 2SLGBTQQIA+ people are not forgotten in reconciliation journey

Kawennakon Bonnie Whitlow Talks Language Revitalization

Kawennakon Bonnie Whitlow, Indigenous special projects officer at Laurier, speaks of her journey to learn the Mohawk language and the way it informs her teaching methods in the Voices from the Land podcast presented by the Legacy of Hope Foundation. The foundation is an Indigenous-led organization that has been working to promote healing and reconciliation in Canada for over 22 years.

“The reason that I fell so in love with learning the language is that it absolutely rooted out colonial thought and gave me the worldview of my ancestors by learning how they said something.”

Bonnie Whitlow

Laurier's Land Acknowledgement

Wilfrid Laurier University strives to improve its relationship with the land and people with whom we share it. As such, it is important to further our understanding of the long-standing history that has brought Laurier to reside on the land, and to seek to understand our place within that history.

We recognize, honour and respect these Nations as the traditional stewards, since time immemorial, of the lands and water on which Laurier is now present.

Get Involved

A number of Wilfrid Laurier University partners are hosting events and providing opportunities for the Laurier community to participate and share in learning on National Day for Truth and Reconciliation.

Maggie Allen wearing an Every Child Matters orange shirt

Orange Shirts Designed by Maggie Allan

Sept. 30 is also recognized as Orange Shirt Day. Designed by Maggie Allan from the Office of Indigenous Initiatives in 2023, the Laurier bookstore on both the Brantford and Waterloo campuses are selling orange shirts, with all proceeds going to support the Woodland Cultural Centre. Laurier community members are encouraged to wear an orange shirt on Sept. 30 to demonstrate support for the survivors and victims of the residential school system.


The Indigenous Student Emergency Fund is a multi-campus bursary available to Indigenous students facing unexpected financial crisis, no matter where they’re studying from. As the number of Indigenous students at Laurier increases, the number of students facing financial emergencies also increases – and every year those emergencies get more expensive. The Indigenous Student Emergency Fund forms one part of the Indigenous Student Services’ circle-of-care approach to supporting Indigenous students at Laurier. Support staff at the Indigenous Student Centres work one-on-one with students to ensure they have access to the unique resources, support and community they need to succeed in their studies and thrive at Laurier.

In honour of this National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, please consider donating to Laurier’s Indigenous Student Emergency Fund or the Indigenous Knowledge Fund, which brings Indigenous knowledge holders to visit Laurier campuses to share Indigenous ways of knowing across the many different programs at Laurier. Thank you for your generosity.