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 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.

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.
Woodland Cultural Centre

Virtual Tour: Mohawk Institute

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

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.

Darren Thomas: National Day for Truth and Reconciliation

Darren Thomas, Associate Vice-President: Indigenous Initiatives, speaks to Six Nations community member Sherlene Bomberry, who shares her experiences as a child at the Mohawk Institute and her journey to healing and helping other survivors, and Cody Groat, a PhD candidate in the Department of History at Laurier, about his research and his lived experiences and the experiences of his family as Mohawk and Six Nations band members.

Percy Lezard: 2SLGBTQQIA+ Orange Shirt Day

Watch a panel discussion moderated by associate professor Percy Lezard on the legacy of residential schools and the experiences of 2SLGBTQQIA people.

Charity Fleming

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.

Lianne Leddy: Cold War Colonialism

Leddy, associate professor of History, discusses Serpent River First Nation’s resilience in confronting colonial extractive practices during the Cold War period. Leddy recently published a book entitled Serpent River Resurgence: Confronting Uranium Mining at Elliot Lake.

Gus Hill: Indigenous Healing – Voices of Elders and Healers

Gus Hill, associate professor of Social Work and the Lyle S. Hallman Chair in Child and Family Welfare, shares why he wrote his very personal book Indigenous Healing: Voices of Elders and Healers. Hill describes the importance of sharing traditional Indigenous healing practices with mainstream Canadian society.

Laurier Scholarship

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

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Meet Margaret Neveau: Indigenous counsellor uses traditional knowledge for healing at Laurier

In her new role as a multi-campus counsellor for Indigenous students, Margaret Neveau works to support emotional and holistic wellness from an Indigenous worldview.

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Laurier researcher ensures 2SLGBTQQIA+ people are not forgotten in reconciliation journey

Percy Lezard continues to work to raise awareness of the often-overlooked experiences of Two-Spirit/Indigiqueer LGBTQ+ people and advocate for action to end violence directed at them.

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Elder-in-Residence’s new book explores the ‘sacred space’ of understanding between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples

When Norma Jacobs (Cayuga name: Gae Ho Hwako) served as Elder-In-Residence at Wilfrid Laurier University’s Brantford campus, much of her focus was on supporting Indigenous students seeking to reconnect with their Indigenous identities.

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.

Events

Wilfrid Laurier University invites faculty, staff, students and the community to participate in the events planned to commemorate this day.

  • Sept. 27: The Office of Indigenous Initiatives is hosting a hybrid book launch of Elder-in-Residence Norma Jacobs’ new book Ǫ da gaho dḛ:s at 2pm. Register to attend online or in person at the Brantford Indigenous Student Centre (111 Darling St.) or the Waterloo Indigenous Student Centre (157 Albert St.).
  • Sept. 28: The Robert Langen Art Gallery in the Laurier Library is hosting an opening reception for Métis visual artist Christi Belcourt from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. Her exhibit, Take Only What You Need is running in the gallery until Dec. 6.
  • Sept. 30: The Healing of the Seven Generations is hosting an Every Child Matters Walk with the route starting in Kitchener (300 Frederick St.) at 10 a.m. and ending at Victoria Park's clock tower, where there will be drummers and speakers.
  • Sept. 30: Grandmother’s Voice is hosting a Walk to Remember the Children in Milton’s Country Heritage Park (8560 Tremaine Road) from noon – 1:30 p.m. and 4 p.m. – 5:30 p.m. for National Day for Truth and Reconciliation.
  • Sept. 30: The Brantford Region Indigenous Support Centre is hosting an Honouring our Children Social in Mohawk Park (51 Lynnwood Dr., Brantford) from 5 – 8 p.m.
Bird in nature

The Frogs Sing Loudly in Spring (detail), 2021. Photo courtesy of the artist, Christi Belcourt.

Barrington Walker and Darren Thomas in orange shirts

Purchase Orange Shirts from the Bookstore

Sept. 30 is also recognized as Orange Shirt Day. The Office of Indigenous Initiatives has arranged for the Laurier bookstore on both the Brantford and Waterloo campuses to sell 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.

Donate

The Indigenous Knowledge Fund invites Indigenous knowledge holders to visit Laurier campuses to share their expertise with our students. This is a unique opportunity to share the Indigenous ways of knowing across the many different programs at Laurier. The Indigenous Initiatives Office at Laurier has also established a multi-campus Student Emergency Fund for Indigenous students to support Indigenous learners who find themselves in situations of dire financial need.

If you are in a position to do so, please consider donating in support of the Indigenous Knowledge Fund or the Indigenous Student Emergency Fund in honour of this National Day for Truth and Reconciliation. Donations can be made online or by payroll. Thank you for your generosity.