tānisi. hãn. ëdƚanet’e? taanishi. Aniin
[English. French. Cree. Dakota/Lakota/Nakota. Dene. Michif. Saulteaux]
It is with sorrow that we write this message regarding the recently discovered 54 unmarked graves of Indigenous children found by Keeseekoose First Nation in Treaty 4 territory, in Saskatchewan. There are no doubt students, staff, and faculty on our campus and in our college, with connections to this community, and we pass along our condolences to the families and to the Keeseekoose First Nation community. Our thoughts are also with survivors of residential schools and day schools, including intergenerational survivors who continue to live each day with the impact of those institutions and of present-day acts of colonization. Our hearts are also with Mr. Bob Badger (Cultural Coordinator, OVPIE) at this time of hardship while he and his home community heal from these discoveries.
We know these will not be the last children to be found. We know there will be more. In knowing this truth, we must prepare for more findings and support those communities through their healing process. Additionally, we must ensure that the history of Residential Boarding Schools and Day Schools is not forgotten but shared with students of all ages. The truth must be told.
When talking about these recent discoveries on February 15, Assembly of First Nations Chief RoseAnne Archibald emphasized that “there has to be truth before reconciliation.”
We want to encourage non-Indigenous students, staff, and faculty in our university to learn about these difficult truths of genocide through the residential school system history, and to learn about the ongoing realities and impacts of anti-Indigenous racism and settler colonialism. ohpahotân | oohpaahotaan, the Indigenous Strategy for the University of Saskatchewan, commits us to, “honour the past and see the truth in the present”, let us walk that path now.
During the COVID pandemic, we are limited on how we can gather to support one another. In place of a physical gathering, a virtual gathering will take place on Thursday, February 24, 2022 from 2:30-3:30, and all are welcome to attend. Please follow the link below to participate, and please wear your orange shirt to demonstrate our solidarity.
Date: Thursday, February 24
Time: 2:30-3:30 pm
We encourage you to take care of yourselves and each other. Below is further information for wellness supports, as well as information for learning more.
Many supports are available at the Student Wellness Centre and Student Affairs and Outreach. Staff and faculty can access confidential counselling through the Employee and Family Assistance Program.
The following community-based supports and resources are also available:
- Indigenous Wellness Support Page and our Employee and Family Assistance program
- Library exhibit and the guide to accompany the exhibit Not Just Another Day Off: Orange Shirt Day and the Legacy of Indian Residential Schools: Home
- #actonreconciliation is a campaign spearheaded by the Saskatoon Tribal Council and encourages everyone to act on reconciliation. This is an opportunity for deeper discussions and education to support the new National Day for Truth and Reconciliation and Residential and Day School Survivors.
mąsi / pidamaya / pinámaya miigwetch / marsee / hiy hiy
Airini and Angela
Provost and Vice President Academic
Vice Provost, Indigenous Engagement