Honouring National Day for Truth and Reconciliation at AUSU

As we approach September 30th, the Athabasca University Students’ Union (AUSU) wants to acknowledge the significance of the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation in Canada. This day holds immense importance as it represents a collective commitment to recognize and address the historical and ongoing injustices faced by Indigenous peoples.

“It is important that we all remember and reflect on the mistreatment of Indigenous communities and peoples, that continue to this day. We must always, as a society, advocate for accountability, recognition, and reparations for all the harm that has been caused.”

Naju Syed, AUSU President

The National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, established in 2021, is a day to commemorate the painful legacy of the residential school system that Indigenous children were forced to attend for over a century. These schools were institutions of assimilation, where cultural suppression and physical and emotional abuse were rampant. The scars of this dark chapter in Canadian history continue to affect Indigenous communities and individuals today. This national observance is not just about acknowledging the past but also about fostering understanding, empathy, and reconciliation. It serves as a reminder that the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada’s calls to action are more crucial than ever. These calls, aimed at addressing the historical and ongoing impacts of colonization and fostering healing and reconciliation, require our active engagement and commitment.

“The Indigenous Circle reflects on this year’s Truth and Reconciliation period with hope and eagerness to represent the Indigenous students at Athabasca University. We share that our Indigenous history, culture, community, and perspective should be honored throughout the year, not just on September Thirtieth.
As a community of learners and practitioners, we encourage learning about Indigenous culture throughout your studies and daily life.”

Jessica Anderson, Indigenous Circle at AUSU

The National Day for Truth and Reconciliation is intrinsically linked to two other significant movements in Canada: Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women (MMIW) and Every Child Matters.

  • Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women (MMIW): This movement seeks justice and accountability for the disproportionately high rates of violence against Indigenous women and girls. It highlights the urgent need to address systemic issues and protect Indigenous women from violence. Recognizing this movement is integral to the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation because it underscores the ongoing harm caused by historical injustices.
  • Every Child Matters: The devastating discovery of unmarked graves at former residential school sites has shaken our nation. The “Every Child Matters” movement calls for recognition of the lives lost and the need for comprehensive reconciliation efforts. It emphasizes the importance of educating ourselves about the true history of Indigenous peoples in Canada and fostering a more inclusive and equitable society.

As members of the Athabasca University (AU) community, we must acknowledge our role in this journey towards reconciliation. AUSU commits to continuing our efforts to fulfill the calls to action put forth by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada. This includes advocating for Indigenous perspectives and content in the AU curriculum, providing support services for Indigenous students, and actively engaging in respectful dialogue and learning opportunities.

On September 30th, we encourage all of you to take a moment to reflect on the significance of the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation and what it means for our shared future. Let us stand together, reaffirm our commitment to reconciliation, and work towards a more just and inclusive society for all.

In addition, if you would like to learn more about getting involved with AUSU as an Indigenous student and meet current Indigenous Circle Members, check out the Indigenous Circle page, and join the Indigenous Circle Facebook group. Students are also welcome to contact the Indigenous Circle directly.