In the academic world, the end of June traditionally signals the completion of a long school year and the start of a summer break before the cycle begins anew. It goes without saying that things feel very different for us today on many levels.
For one thing, the 2020-21 academic year has been like no other, due to the global pandemic. I’m exceptionally proud of the way our faculty and staff members persevered to ensure our students received the best possible educational experience under the circumstances. With vaccination rates rising and the pandemic’s third wave receding, I’m optimistic about a back-to-school scenario in the fall that looks and feels much more open and ‘normal.’
I am very proud of the many initiatives that our faculty, staff, and students — the UWinnipeg community — have undertaken to further reconciliation.
Dr. James Currie
As we begin a well-deserved summer break tomorrow, the notion of observing Canada Day in the ways that many of us are accustomed gives pause. The recent discoveries of unmarked graves at the former site of the Marieval Indian Residential School in Saskatchewan and at the former site of the Kamloops Indian Residential School have horrified us all and underscored the grief that Indigenous people in Canada have been experiencing for generations.
All Canadians have inherited this legacy and must embrace the responsibility for reconciliation as the disturbing truth is uncovered. Words of unity are a start. As we come to grips with the growing magnitude of Canada’s residential school history and our place in it, we must also consider the actions required for reconciliation.
Here at The University of Winnipeg, we have begun to demonstrate our often-stated commitment to reconciliation and to implementing recommendations from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada (TRC): Calls to Action. While there remains much to be done, I am very proud of the many initiatives that our faculty, staff, and students — the UWinnipeg community — have undertaken to further reconciliation.
Please visit the website we have created to share our progress thus far in response to the TRC’s Calls To Actions. I know this important repository will continue to expand and inspire.
As we observe a Canada Day that will evoke a range of uncomfortable emotions, I encourage you to reflect on our country’s past, on its present issues, and on how we might contribute to a better future. We will be lighting Wesley Hall orange on July 1 to show support for Indigenous peoples. I know that members of our community will also be tending the sacred fire that will be lit on the grounds of the legislature.
I hope you to take time this summer to rest, recharge, and heal in whatever form makes sense for you.
Dr. James Currie,
Interim President and Vice-Chancellor