In recognition of the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation and Orange Shirt Day, Wesley Hall at The University of Winnipeg will be lit orange nightly during the week of Monday, September 25. The University will also be closed on Saturday, September 30.
This week provides an opportunity for renewed dedication and commitment to reconciliation, and the recognition that this work can happen daily and is for everyone, Indigenous and non-Indigenous alike.
Dr. Chantal Fiola
“As the number of unmarked graves at former residential schools continues to rise across the country, we are called to remember the many Indigenous children who were forced to attend residential schools, including those who never returned home,” said Dr. Chantal Fiola, Interim Associate Vice-President, Indigenous.
“This week provides an opportunity for renewed dedication and commitment to reconciliation, and the recognition that this work can happen daily and is for everyone, Indigenous and non-Indigenous alike.”
Throughout the week, special events, learning opportunities, and activities will be dedicated to honouring residential school Survivors and learning from Indigenous Peoples and perspectives.
Monday, September 25
Every Child Matters flag raising
UWinnipeg will be raising the Every Child Matters flag in front of Wesley Hall at 10:00 a.m. Elder Sharon Pelletier will provide a prayer, followed by remarks by Dr. Todd Mondor, President and Vice-Chancellor, Tanis Kolisnyk, Aboriginal Student Services Centre Coordinator, and Jonathan Henderson, UWSA Vice-President of External Affairs.
Orange steel cut-outs in the shape of t-shirts will also be installed on the front lawn of campus, both on Monday, September 25 and Friday, September 29. This installation was created by local artist Kendra Gierys.
Following the flag raising, Drs. Mary Jane McCallum and Karen Froman will be hosting a panel discussion, Critical Reflections on Residential School Histories, in Eckhardt Gramatté Hall from 12:30 to 1:30 p.m. All are welcome to attend.
Wednesday, September 27
The University of Winnipeg Indigenous Students’ Association is hosting a feast at 12:30 p.m. in the Aboriginal Student Services Centre Lounge. All are welcome.
Friday, September 29
Office of Indigenous Engagement table
The Office of Indigenous Engagement will have a table set up on the 2nd floor of Centennial Hall (next to the escalators) from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. They’ll be distributing Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada: Calls to Action booklets, shirts, and stickers. The UWSA will have smudging station too.
And, in partnership with the UWSA, the Office of Indigenous Engagement will also be giving away orange shirts with artwork provided by local artist Kaelan Linklater-Anderson, as well as accepting donations for the Wii Chiiwaakanak Learning Centre’s programming.
Artist Kendra Gierys’ steel cut-outs of orange t-shirts will also be installed again on the front lawn of Wesley Hall.
Wear your orange shirt
We also encourage all UWinnipeg faculty, staff, and students to wear orange shirts on this day.
Orange Shirt Day began in Williams Lake, B.C., in 2013 at a commemorative event for the Survivors of St. Joseph Mission Residential School. The idea of wearing shirts to remember the experiences of Survivors came from the story of Phyllis Webstad. In 1974, at the age of six, Phyllis was forced to attend St. Joseph Mission. She was proud to wear a brand-new orange shirt to school that day but, upon arrival, it was cruelly stripped from her and never returned.
Orange Shirt Day has grown to represent the generations of stolen children that never came home, the resilience and strength of Survivors, and the courage of families as they work to reclaim their own stories and traditions.
As well as at the Office of Indigenous Engagement table (Centennial Hall from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.), there are several other ways to get an orange shirt right on campus:
- Every Child Matter shirts are available from the Department of Indigenous Studies for a minimum donation of $12. All donations will go to the Wii Chiiwaakanak Learning Centre for their Indigenous Language programs (Beginning Learning Anishinaabemowin). To get your shirt, contact Crystal Moore at 204.786.9305 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
- UWinnipeg faculty, staff, and students can also purchase an orange shirt, designed by artist Peggy Pitawanakwat, from the UWinnipeg Bookstore. All profits from sales of the Every Child Matters 2023 t-shirt will be equally divided and donated the Orange Shirt Society and the Education Program of the First Nation of Wiikwemkoong Unceded Territory.
Saturday, September 30
The University will be closed to recognize the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation. This is an opportunity for the UWinnipeg community to take time to reflect and to honour Survivors, their families, and their communities. This can be done by taking part in commemorative community events, and reading, reflecting, and learning more about the history of residential schools and your role in reconciliation.
Unlearn Colonial Myths | Celebrate Indigenous Brilliance
The UWinnipeg Library is encouraging all faculty, staff, and students to unlearn the mythology of colonialism and to celebrate contemporary First Nations, Metis, and Inuit cultures, creators, and arts. Small orange shirts with QR codes have been placed throughout the Library. When scanned, each one will connect to an online space showcasing the work of an Indigenous scholar and/or artist. Can you find them all?