Week of Reflection

Against the background of the University of Saskatchewan’s (USask) traditional hues of green and white, orange stands out as a vitally important and powerfully symbolic colour for Indigenous and non-Indigenous communities. Its meaning is especially clear as we begin a Week of Reflection leading up to the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation on Sept. 30.

This is the third year Canadians have marked the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation. This week of reflection is about caring for, supporting, and learning from residential school survivors. It is about learning, understanding, and committing to not repeat the atrocities of the past.

We ask that USask community members wear an orange shirt for the week of Sept. 25-30 as a reminder to yourself, and to others, that you are committed to taking action toward reconciliation. Buildings on campus will again be bathed in orange lights on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday.

Those of you who were at USask during the previous two Weeks of Reflection will recall the orange ribbons that played a central role in our commitments toward reconciliation. During the first year, the ribbons were tied all over campus in public and more personal spaces. During the second year, the ribbons were collected and stored with care. This year we are weaving the ribbons into orange wool blankets as the third stage of the commitments we are making to Truth and Reconciliation.

Next year, after colleges, units, and schools have committed to the blanket teachings, these woven wool coverings will be displayed across campus to create a path of commitments toward Truth and Reconciliation across campus.

USask’s Mistatimōk Committee, which encourages our university community to engage in the difficult, but critical, work of decolonization and reconciliation, is co-ordinating a Week of Reflection leading up to the third annual National Day for Truth and Reconciliation. This week is filled with events and opportunities for learning and growth as a campus community, and as individuals.

  • Today, we open the Week of Reflection in a good way, with a celebration at 11:30 am at Gordon Oakes Red Bear Student Centre. All are welcome, and registration is requested.
  • On Tuesday at Convocation Hall, the College of Kinesiology is hosting an event with Treaty Commissioner of Saskatchewan Mary Culbertson. 
  • On Wednesday at 3:30 pm in the Link Gallery at the Murray Library, the Blanket Project, mentioned above, will be launched. All are welcome to learn more about this moving initiative.
  • On Thursday at 7 pm in Quance Theatre, the College of Education is hosting a screening of the film Understanding and Finding Our Way – Decolonizing Canadian Education. The film was produced by Dr. Verna St. Denis, who will be part of a panel discussion after the screening.
  • Huskie Athletics will present a schedule of athletic events featuring special programming. Athletes will wear orange in honour of residential school survivors and their families. Sept. 29 is a home game for Huskies football and Sept. 30 will feature a Huskie women’s hockey game and a Huskie women’s soccer game.
  • On Friday, USask offices will close, marking the federal statutory holiday created to honour the children who never returned home and Survivors of residential schools, as well as their families and communities.

For a full list of events across USask, visit https://spotlight.usask.ca/truth-and-reconciliation/index.php.

Through the USask Plan 2025, our university has committed to this journey of transformative decolonization leading to reconciliation. The gift of ohpahotân | oohpaahotaan| Indigenous Strategy reminds that we all are responsible for decolonization and reconciliation. By joining together to foster learning, listening, and reflection, we can each commit to never forgetting and always caring for those affected by residential schools, the legacy of Canada’s residential school system, and the continued colonization of Indigenous Peoples presently.

In solidarity,

Dr. Angela Jaime
Interim Vice-Provost, Indigenous Engagement
University of Saskatchewan