College aims to amplify Indigenous voices, foster learning and healing during Truth and Reconciliation Week

September 25, 2023

RRC Polytech is hosting its fifth annual Truth and Reconciliation Week to mark the National Day of Truth and Reconciliation, also known as Orange Shirt Day, on Sat., Sept. 30.

The week begins Monday, Sept. 25, with the Fall Equinox celebration at Manitou a bi Bii daziigae, and will span over two weeks of student-, staff- and community-led sessions aimed at educating participants about the many different facets and responsibilities of Truth and Reconciliation.

“When RRC Polytech held its first Truth and Reconciliation Week five years ago, two people were leading the charge,” says Jamie Wilson, Vice-President, Indigenous Strategy, Business Development and Research.

“Today, Truth and Reconciliation Week is supported by almost 90 volunteers across all campuses, allowing the College community to come together to learn from and engage with Indigenous People.”

The Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada calls on post-secondary institutions to create a more equitable and inclusive society by closing gaps in social, health and economic outcomes between Indigenous and non-Indigenous communities and people.

RRC Polytech’s second strategic commitment is to “commit to Truth and Reconciliation, and pursue equity, diversity and inclusion in everything we do.”

Truth and Reconciliation is not just about providing equal opportunities to Indigenous learners — it is also about educating the publics RRC Polytech serves of the true histories that have often been neglected by western textbooks and reconciling potential dissonance with facts as related by Indigenous scholars, historians and Knowledge Keepers.

Truth and Reconciliation is a year-round commitment for RRC Polytech, but the focal point of the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation allows employees and students to immerse themselves in Indigenous teachings, storytelling and experiences.

Opportunities to cultivate understandings of the true history and current issues impacting Indigenous people, and reconciliation efforts by society as a whole, contribute to a stronger, more unified community that benefits all members.

“Truth and Reconciliation is a small phrase that encompasses many larger and intricate meanings,” says Carla Kematch, Director of Truth and Reconciliation and Community Engagement.

“It’s also an ongoing process of learning and integrating new information, disentangling ourselves from misinformation and unlearning what we think we know, and opening ourselves to truths that might surprise or challenge us. This work is part of a lifelong journey that we encourage staff and students to commit to today, tomorrow and everyday into the future as we work towards building a better, brighter future for all.”

Truth and Reconciliation Week includes events and activities exploring Residential Schools and the experiences of Survivors; Orange Shirt Day: Every Child Matters; Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women, Girls and Two Spirit People; and colonization and its effects on a global scale.

It will include events centred on Indigenous values and ways, like the power of a thoughtful and collaborative land acknowledgement, engaging with Elders and learning traditional teachings, and integrating Indigenous perspectives into research to obtain stronger, more holistic data.

Staff and students across the College have come together to organize a wide range of sessions, many of which feature special guests who’ll offer their expertise.

See the full event schedule here.

RRC Polytech campuses are located on the lands of Anishinaabe, Ininiwak, Anishininew, Dakota, and Dené, and the National Homeland of the Red River Métis.

We recognize and honour Treaty 3 Territory Shoal Lake 40 First Nation, the source of Winnipeg’s clean drinking water. In addition, we acknowledge Treaty Territories which provide us with access to electricity we use in both our personal and professional lives.

Learn more ›