Recognizing the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation on September 30
Senate has approved a motion to cancel classes and close St. Thomas University on Thursday, September 30 in recognition of the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation. In addition, tests, assessments, and assignments should not be scheduled for that day.
One of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s 94 Calls to Action had called “… upon the federal government, in collaboration with Aboriginal peoples, to establish, as a statutory holiday, a National Day for Truth and Reconciliation to honour Survivors, their families, and communities, and ensure that public commemoration of the history and legacy of residential schools remains a vital component of the reconciliation process.” Recently, the Federal Government declared that September 30 would be the first National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, a federal holiday to honour First Nations, Inuit, and Métis survivors and their families and communities.
Chancellor Graydon Nicholas, along with our Indigenous Student Services team, expressed their belief that closing the University and cancelling classes would be an important sign of respect and recognition of the grief and trauma associated with the discovery of thousands of unmarked graves on the grounds of Canada’s residential schools.
Our recognition of this day ensures that commemoration of the history and the legacy of residential schools is addressed as a vital part of the reconciliation process. As the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation coincides with Orange Shirt Day, the Senate Committee on Reconciliation will hold events on September 29 to bring awareness to the issues related to residential schools. We will provide more information on these events in the coming days.
Together with our Senate Committee on Reconciliation, Indigenous Student Services team, Student Reconciliation Committee, and Indigenous communities and leaders, we will continue our work to achieve progress towards reconciliation as a university community which has an important role to play in educating our students and in raising awareness in society.