The University of Winnipeg (U of W)’s third annual Truth and Reconciliation Week kicks off on Monday, Sept. 25. Through a series of events, students can continue learning about Indigenous cultures and honour residential-school survivors.
The university’s Office of Indigenous Engagement (OIE) is hosting the week of programming, along with the U of W Students’ Association (UWSA) and the Indigenous Students’ Association (ISA), in recognition of the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation and Orange Shirt Day on Saturday, Sept. 30.
Sarah DeLaronde, project manager for the OIE, has spearheaded much of the event planning.
She says it’s necessary for Indigenous people within the university to be vocal and visible to repair the heavy influence of colonialism in structuring Canadian education systems.
“I think that it’s important for (the OIE) specifically and for the university as a whole to have these opportunities for students who didn’t grow up in Canada or didn’t grow up in this territory to learn from us,” DeLaronde says, “and to learn from the people of this territory about what has happened and ways that we can work together to make things better for future generations.”
The week’s events begin on Monday, Sept. 25 at 10 a.m. with the raising of the Every Child Matters flag in front of Wesley Hall and an opening prayer from Elder Sharon Pelletier.
At 12:30 p.m., a panel discussion titled Critical Reflections on Residential School Histories will take place in Eckhardt-Grammaté Hall, hosted by Sen. Mary Jane McCallum and U of W assistant history professor Dr. Karen Froman.
On Wednesday, Sept. 27, the ISA will host a feast at 12:30 p.m. in the Aboriginal Student Services Centre. On Friday, Sept. 29, the UWSA and OIE will give away orange shirts, informational leaflets and assorted goodies in front of Wesley Hall, starting at 10 a.m.
Donations will be accepted on site to support the Ma Mawi Wi Chi Itata Centre’s Sept. 30 youth-oriented programming. Ma Mawi is an Indigenous-led family resource organization, and its name translates from Anishinaabemowin to “we all work together to help one another.” The group will host a sacred fire and cultural teaching starting at 10:30 a.m. at its 445 King St. Gathering Place for Truth and Reconciliation.
Throughout the week, Wesley Hall will be lit up in orange, and orange steel T-shirt cutouts made by artist Kendra Gierys will be installed on the front lawn.
Published in Volume 78, Number 03 of The Uniter (September 21, 2023)