Fanshawe participating in the National Day of Truth and Reconciliation for the second year

Outside the First Nations Centre CREDIT: KATE OTTERBEIN
Nationally, the day may just be one day. But Fanshawe is dedicating an entire week Truth and Reconciliation.

Sept. 30 marks the second year of the National Day of Truth and Reconciliation to honour and stand in solidarity with Canada’s Indigenous peoples and the lives lost in residential schools. Nationally, the day may just be one day. But Fanshawe is dedicating an entire week to Truth and Reconciliation.

“I think sometimes non-Indigenous people get nervous interacting with us, but reconciliation is really up to them,” said Chris Hannah, an academic advisor at the Institute of Indigenous Learning at Fanshawe. She is also Métis from Drummond Island and Penetanguishene. She belongs to the Longlade and Dusome families from those communities.

“It’s not something we can do on our own, as reconciliation is about relationship. With this year’s Truth and Reconciliation week, we have a heavy focus on reconciliation as there is so much information online about the truth of colonization in Canada and it’s a heavy emotional burden for us to talk about our communities, families, and our own traumas.”

The Fanshawe College Student Success and Here For You logos are shown. A young woman is smiling, sitting at a desk. Text states: A new semester is here. Access student services! We are here for you.

Hannah believes that as time goes on, the truth isn’t getting hidden as much and many are now understanding what Indigenous peoples went through.

“Once you begin to know the truth, then what? That’s what we’re hoping to help people answer throughout this week. We’ll have a Knowledge Keeper and a Ceremony Maker available to talk about what they see as next steps and who people can ask their questions. We’re also showcasing things that have been done at Fanshawe to move towards reconciliation in hopes of inspiring others to make changes within their own realm of influence.”

The events Fanshawe is putting on are:

Monday, Sept. 26

  • Traditional opening and teaching with Liz Akiwenzie - 10 a.m., Kalihwíyo Circle
  • Book reading and signing with Memory Keeper author, Dawn C. Hill - 3 p.m., Library Learning Commons (F1066) Tuesday, Sept. 27
  • Indigenous teaching with Paul Petahtegoose - 10 a.m. to 12 p.m., Kalihwíyo Circle Wednesday, Sept. 28
  • Virtual reconciliation show and share - 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. Thursday, Sept. 29
  • Keynote speaker Raven Sinclair: “Indigenous Knowledge and the Path to Reconciliation” - 1 p.m., Alumni Lecture Theatre (D1060)
Friday, Sept. 30

  • Orange Shirt Day
  • Reconciliation in Action - 10 a.m. to 12 p.m., Kalihwíyo Circle
  • A Day to Listen - 106.9 The X Students are welcome to come to any and all of the events happening throughout the week.
Fanshawe isn’t new to supporting Indigenous peoples. Hannah said they have been working on it for a while.

“We’ve had many initiatives over the years that have increased First Nation, Métis, and Inuit (FNMI) retention and graduation. We know that even with these efforts and the improvements, there is still a gap between our education achievements when compared to other domestic students. We’ve also made a lot of great efforts in improving FNMI transition to the workforce in building skills up in our students, but also in preparing employers to receive them.”

Hannah said this is only a small part of what Fanshawe has done. The efforts to their true extent will be outlined during the week.