National Day for Truth and Reconciliation

An Important Message from President Dr. Daniel Doz

The Government of Canada declared September 30 a National Day for Truth and Reconciliation. This federal statutory holiday has been chosen to recognize and commemorate the tragic history of Residential Schools and their legacy, and to honour the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s call to action number 80:

“We call upon the federal government, in collaboration with Aboriginal peoples, to establish, as a statutory holiday, a National Day for Truth and Reconciliation to honour Survivors, their families, and communities, and ensure that public commemoration of the history and legacy of residential schools remains a vital component of the reconciliation process.”

Alberta University of the Arts respects its Indigenous learners and community members, and to provide each of us time to learn and honour, for our 2021/22 academic year, Thursday, September 30, 2021 will be a non-operational day.

The AUArts campus will be closed, there will be no classes or instruction, and the academic calendar will be adjusted accordingly. While this has been designated a statutory holiday for federally regulated workplaces only, AUArts faculty and staff will not be expected to report to work.

September 30 was chosen as the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation as it coincides with Orange Shirt Day, a day intended to create a meaningful discussion about the effects of Residential Schools and the legacy they left behind. The story behind the significance of the colour orange is attributed to Phyllis (Jack) Webstad, and has come to symbolize her loss, of family, self-esteem, culture, and all things Indigenous to her. We encourage our community members to show their support and wear orange on September 30, and orange ribbons will be distributed on campus. We are also assembling professional development opportunities and resources.  

It is an absolute tragedy that unmarked gravesites of Indigenous children have been found at former sites of Residential Schools throughout the country. We hope our community will take personal time to learn and reflect, in honour of the survivors and families as part of our collective Truth and Reconciliation.