What are you doing on September 30th?
As many people are aware, on June 3rd, 2021, a bill creating a statutory holiday for Federal employees received royal assent. This holiday was created to commemorate the tragic legacy of residential schools, a painful part of Canadian history that significantly impacts Indigenous people and communities – and all of us – to this day.
Whether the provincial government or any institution, including Humber, designates this day as a day away from work, the fact remains that September 30th is also recognized as Orange Shirt Day, which is an important opportunity for the Indigenous community to gather, reflect and commemorate the loss of children and the acts of attempted cultural genocide that devastated families and communities. This day also provides an opportunity for many others to sit with the impact it has on all of us as we seek a society that is caring, respectful and loving for us all.
Humber College is committed to recognizing and celebrating Indigenous cultures, histories, and Knowledges throughout the year in our academic programming, events, professional development, and other initiatives. This work is led by the Department of Indigenous Education and Engagement (IE&E) and guided by Humber’s Indigenous Education Advisory Council. It is something we all need to participate in through ongoing, genuine, caring and empathetic ways of learning and recognizing the legacy of residential schools. As the 2021 Colleges and Institutes of Canada Gold Medal recipient for Indigenous Education Excellence, Humber provides opportunities to learn about and build an understanding of the impact and legacy of residential schools in Canada, all year round.
So what can you do?
It is the work of all Canadians to understand the impacts of residential schools, the policies that created the conditions for the devastation of Indigenous cultures and communities, and the ways that Indigenous peoples are driving a resurgence that will write, and right, the future of our country. The negative impacts on Indigenous cultures have been experienced for generations, and it will require a multigenerational commitment from all Canadians to change this.
As the college will be open on September 30th, we ask that you support Indigenous staff and students who may want to gather and participate in broader community events, or do what they need to do to commemorate the multigenerational impacts of residential schools.
Approaching September 30th, there are several events and learning opportunities that will be taking place specifically intended to commemorate this new federal statutory holiday and Orange Shirt Day.
The current list of planned initiatives is below:
- On September 27 at 6 p.m., IE&E will discuss the 2016 Indigenous documentary “Colonization Road.” In the film, activist Ryan McMahon discusses histories of colonialism with Indigenous historians, researchers and policy makers who provide history, context and solutions moving forward into the future.
- On September 28, 2021 at 1 p.m., the Centre for Human Rights, Equity & Inclusion, in collaboration with the Indigenous Education & Engagement department, is pleased to invite the Humber Community to the upcoming Equity and Inclusion Dialogue virtual session about the importance of the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation. Additional event and registration information is on the Eventbrite page - we ask that you ensure that all staff are provided the opportunity to participate.
- On September 30, all flags at Humber will be lowered in honour of the National Day of Truth and Reconciliation and to commemorate the tragic legacy of residential schools.
- On September 30 from 10:30 a.m. to 11:00 a.m., take part in the “Importance of National Day of Truth and Reconciliation and Orange Shirt Day” virtual session. The event will feature Humber College’s Dean of Indigenous Education & Engagement, Jason Seright, University of Guelph-Humber’s Interim Vice-Provost Dr. George Bragues and Psychology Program Head Dr. David Danto. They will discuss the history and significance of these events, and how we can further recognize and support reconciliation efforts and our Indigenous communities across the country. Microsoft Teams Meeting Link
Leading up to September 30, a number of messages and initiatives will be posted on Humber’s social media channels, including opportunities for students and employees to get their own orange shirt for Orange Shirt Day. Students and employees are encouraged to post a photo of themselves wearing an orange shirt on September 30 on social media and/or upload it to our soon-to-be published National Day for Truth and Reconciliation gallery page.
As this is a new holiday, we will continue meaningful discussions with a wide range of Humber/Guelph-Humber community members to find new ways to observe this critical holiday in future years.
Jason Seright, Dean, Indigenous Education & Engagement
Jason Hunter, Vice-President, Students and Institutional Planning