Over the past six years, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada (TRC) has been travelling across the country and interviewing survivors of Canada’s residential school system. It produced a multi-volume report about what it learned, focussing first on truth determination, which then created a foundation for reconciliation. On December 15, 2015, the TRC released its final report to the citizens of Canada. The University of Lethbridge embraces both the spirit of the report and its recommendations, and offers the following statement from President and Vice-Chancellor Dr. Mike Mahon.
As we know, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada released its historic reports and findings at the end of last year. I encourage everyone to review this at www.trc.ca.
Nearly 50 years ago, the University of Lethbridge was established inclusive of the local Blackfoot community, on traditional Blackfoot territory. From being home to one of the first Native American Studies departments in Canada to the recent opening of the Iikaisskini Gathering Place, we are committed to including First Nations, Métis, and Inuit peoples in our ongoing plans and actions.
Across Canada, all universities have a significant responsibility to foster truth and lead in reconciling relations between aboriginal and non-aboriginal Canadians. We are a powerful collective that can contribute significantly to this nation by teaching a clearer understanding of our shared history, closing knowledge gaps for aboriginal and non-aboriginal students, and creating innovative solutions that facilitate action.
I would like to invite all students, administrators, faculty, and staff to take on the responsibility of learning about and contributing toward reconciliation. Join our campus conversations to learn how you can contribute. Our next 50 years depends on each of you to set this example.
A recording of our first campus conversation is posted at http://www.uleth.ca/truth-and-reconciliation.