UBC is committed to developing a better awareness and understanding of the Indian Residential School system that operated in Canada from 1875-1996, and how its effects are still with us today. The Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada was established to gather testimony on survivors’ experiences of the Indian Residential Schools. From the 18th to the 21st of September 2013, the Commission will be conducting the last of its west coast National Events in Vancouver. UBC has taken the extraordinary step of suspending classes on September 18th so that students, faculty, and other members of the UBC community might more fully participate in this historic event and the other events around the city supporting it. Many initiatives are underway on campus prepare for our participation in this event.
TRC National Event: UBC suspension of classes
This day should not be treated as a suspension of learning, but a restructuring and relocation of learning. UBC has taken the extraordinary step of suspending classes on September 18th so that students, faculty, and other members of the UBC community might more fully participate in this historic Truth and Reconciliation event and the other events around the city supporting it. You can find various ways to get involved with the Truth and Reconciliation around UBC and the province on September 18th at Local and Provincial Events.
In addition, here are a few ways to engage in the Truth and Reconciliation beyond September 18th:
The Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada (TRC) and Reconciliation Canada announced today a week of reconciliation activities to take place in Vancouver from September 16 to 22, 2013. Some Reconciliation Week events are:
- The lighting of the Flame of Reconciliation, September 16:' A sacred fire will be lit at Ambleside to symbolize the start of Reconciliation Week.
- The All Nations Canoe Gathering, September 17: People-powered crafts and beautiful cedar dugout canoes paddle into False Creek from Kits Point to Science World, and are welcomed in a traditional ceremony to the Coast Salish lands.
- The TRC’s British Columbia National Event, September 18-21: Bear witness to the experiences of Survivors of the Indian Residential Schools, and the schools’ continuing legacy. The TRC’s sixth National Event takes place at the Pacific National Exhibition. No registration is required. All activities are free.
- The Walk for Reconciliation, September 22: Bringing Canada’s many cultures to walk a path together in a shared commitment to reconciliation.
The Mayor and City Council of Vancouver have proclaimed June 21, 2013 to June 20, 2014 as a Year of Reconciliation. Mayor's Proclamation: http://vancouver.ca/people-programs/year-of-reconciliation.aspx
You can follow the iris.aboriginal.ubc.ca for ongoing campus and city engagement activities throughout the year.
What's your part?
How are you engaging in Truth and Reconciliation?
- ATTEND the September 18 event at the Pacific Coliseum.
- ENCOURAGE your students to attend the September 18 event at the Pacific Coliseum. This might entail informing students that you will be attending this eventand explaining why it is important for them to be doing so as well.
- INTEGRATE material about Indian Residential Schools Systems, intergenerational effects and their relationship to current initiatives Insert non-formatted text here into class teachings. This could include inviting in a speaker, showing a film, as well as including relevant readings/assignments in your course
- ASSIST with information dissemination about the event. Help us to get the word out to your students and colleagues by:
Bridging into a course activity
Bringing awareness of Truth and Reconciliation in your classroom. Here are some suggestions:
- Begin each semester and off-campus gathering by recognizing the Indigenous Nation within whose territory you are meeting. Express your thanks for the privilege of gathering on their territory and mention any personal connection you may have with that nation. You can also introduce yourself by sharing where you are from.
- An opening thank-you may include:
- Thank you to the Musqueam people for welcoming UBC students, staff and faculty onto their territory and into their community. I am grateful for how they are sharing their culture, language and oral traditions. You are encouraged to engage with these aspects of Musqueam heritage throughout the semester.
- You may also wish to include a similar statement in your syllabus.
- Ask students to read or view the resources listed on the What are your next steps? page. Ask them to reflect on the following questions:
- 'What?' What did you read or view?
- 'Now what?' What is your current understanding of the content?
- 'What is next?' What questions do you have? What is your plan for further investigation?
- 'How will you share what you have learned with others?
- A short self-reflective writing to be kept by the student may be sufficient for your classroom. You may want to ask them to submit their reflection to you, post it on your course website (Connect), or conduct an online or in-class discussion as you wish.
- CTLT will be offering a workshop entitled Integrating Indigenous Content into Your Course Design on Dec 12th, 2016 for the UBC Community. This workshop is designed for anyone in the UBC teaching and learning community who is interested in integrating Indigenous content into a course they are developing. The workshop will include focused discussions on learning materials, resources, and course design for Indigenous engagement. You will have the opportunity to work on integrating Indigenous content in your own course in a supportive, peer-to-peer learning environment. Register here: https://events.ctlt.ubc.ca/event-category/indigenous-initiatives/