September 30 has recently been declared the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation by the Government of Canada to commemorate the tragic history and ongoing legacy of residential schools in Canada.
The GSA will be recognizing this special day as a dedicated opportunity to honour the Indigenous children who survived residential schools in Canada and honour and mourn those who did not return. As Indigenous communities across Canada are mourning, we stand in solidarity with over seven generations of Indigenous peoples who continue to deal with personal and intergenerational trauma to this day. The GSA staff and executive will cease our operation on September 30 to honour the victims of residential schools, learn about this dark chapter of Canadian history, and reflect on actions that we can take toward truth and reconciliation as individuals and an organization.
We highly encourage graduate students to participate in the events hosted by the University of Calgary’s Office of Indigenous Engagement during this important day:
- Film Screening and Discussion: Monkey Beach (Sept. 30, 6:30 to 9 pm MST)
- Indigenous Writers’ Panel: Literature on Intergenerational Trauma and Healing (Sept. 30, 12 – 1:30 pm MST)
We recommend graduate students to donate and participate in activities provided by local Indigenous groups especially:
- Stardale Women’s Group (stardale.org)
- Supporting Aboriginal Graduate Enhancement (SAGE) – UCalgary Chapter
- Writing Symbol Lodge of the University of Calgary
- Alberta Indigenous Mentorship in Health Innovation (AIM-HI) Network
- Awo Tann Healing Lodge Society
- Aboriginal Friendship Society of Calgary
- Urban Society for Aboriginal Youth (AB) (https://usay.ca/)
- Urban Native Youth Association (BC) (https://unya.bc.ca/)
- Assembly of Seven Generations (ON) (https://www.a7g.ca/)
There are many books written about Indigenous history and experience. We highly recommend “Jonny Appleseed” (Arsenal Pulp Press 2018) by Joshua Whitehead, a Ph.D. candidate, lecturer, and Killam scholar at the University of Calgary. Jonny Appleseed was long listed for the Giller Prize, shortlisted for the Indigenous Voices Award, the Governor General’s Literary Award, the Amazon Canada First Novel Award, the Carol Shields Winnipeg Book Award, and won the Lambda Literary Award for Gay Fiction and the Georges Bugnet Award for Fiction (joshuawhitehead.ca/about).
If interested, you can sign this Petition to the Government of Canada regarding the investigation of residential schools by visiting: https://petitions.ourcommons.ca/en/Petition/Details?Petition=e-3484
Find more resources about Indigenous history in the GSA blog post for the National Indigenous History Month. Any feedback and comments about what the GSA can do to further our work in the Indigenous engagement and reconciliation can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.