UBC participation in Sept. 18 Truth and Reconciliation event

To: All faculty and staff at UBC’s Vancouver campus

UBC’s Vancouver Senate has taken the extraordinary step of suspending classes on September 18. It has done so to allow our campus community to participate in activities related to Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s (TRC) final national event on the West Coast that day. We hope students, faculty and staff will take advantage of this opportunity to develop a better understanding of the effects of the Indian Residential School System that operated in Canada from 1875 – 1996.

The Senate decision affects all classes with very few exceptions, such as offsite professional practicums, where suspension would create undue difficulty. A web site has been created to provide information resources and a list of related events on and off campus: http://www.ubc.ca/ourtruth. This site is being updated and our community is encouraged to check it regularly.

Faculty members are asked to consider how they can incorporate material about this matter into classroom teaching, to encourage their students to attend the TRC and UBC campus events, and to participate themselves.

We also encourage staff to consider the important issues of reconciliation by reviewing the web site and taking time during their breaks to take in campus exhibits.

The TRC was established to collect testimony of survivors of the Indian Residential School System. Young Aboriginal children were forced from their families and suffered emotional, physical and sexual abuse. When they returned to their communities, they found it difficult to re-integrate. Today many communities are still working to recover.

We call on all faculty, staff and students to consider how they can be part of the process of reconciliation.

Sincerely yours,

Prof. Stephen Toope, President
Prof. Linc Kesler, Sr. Advisor to the President on Aboriginal Affairs