Antigonish, Nova Scotia, Canada

National Day for Truth and Reconciliation and Mi’kmaq History Month

September 29th, 2022
We are all treaty people



To the campus community,

There will be no classes on September 30th, the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation. Everyday university operations will cease so people can take time to reflect on how we can actively contribute to reconciliation both individually and collectively. This is an important time for the StFX community as we collectively progress toward reconciliation.

Although the format of the official ceremonies had to be adjusted due to the storm and continuing power outages throughout our region, tomorrow we will still be honouring the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation. We invite members of the campus and broader community to come to Alumni Plaza between 11 a.m. and 12 p.m., wearing orange, to tie a commemorative ribbon. It is a moment in which we, as a community, reflect on the meaning of Truth and Reconciliation, and honour the many children who never made it home, as well as the survivors of residential schools, their families, and communities. A campus-wide minute of silence will be held at noon. 

The Mulroney Art Gallery will be open from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and all are encouraged to attend the Nurturing Netukulimk exhibition before or after tying a ribbon. The exhibit features artworks by Indigenous artists and creators across the unceded, ancestral Mi'kmaw territory that honour connectedness and caring.

Additionally, today, Thursday, September 29th, from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m., the Angus L. Macdonald Library is once again hosting button making workshops to commemorate Truth & Reconciliation Day. The workshops take place on the first floor of the library.

Our work toward reconciliation is ongoing. Some of the more recent steps forward include the introduction of an Indigenous Medicine Garden in Warren Gardens, a fantastic collaboration led by Arlynne McGrath with Indigenous Student Advisor Terena Francis, Knowledge Keeper and Elder Kerry Prosper, Facilities Management, Human Rights & Equity, and Service Learning. I am proud to see the copies of the Treaties prominently posted in the Joyce Family Atrium and outside Kiknu, our Indigenous Student Centre. And, of course, Kiknu has been a wonderful resource on campus and a ‘home away from home’ for our Indigenous students. We are also pleased to announce the hiring of four Indigenous peer mentors: Molly Burke, Shyanna Denny, Lance Bright, and Harmony Bright-Doucette. These upper year students will support their peers in achieving success at StFX.

Work has been ongoing in other areas as well. Elder Prosper has held numerous ceremonies to support student wellbeing, culturally relevant mental health supports for Indigenous students have been introduced, and I’m pleased to report that this year up to 500 members of the campus community have participated in the blanket exercise.

The Faculty of Education continues to offer off-campus B.Ed. cohorts, which provide geographic accessibility and flexibility for our Mi’kmaq students in Cape Breton pursuing a second degree.  

A special thank you to Tyler Rankin, a second-year Bachelor of Arts and Science in Health Program student and a Mi’kmaq student, who designed this year’s Orange Shirt Day t-shirt. As communicated earlier to the campus community, the t-shirts are available for sale in the StFX Store, with all proceeds donated to the Indigenous Student Society.

Looking ahead, we will also be celebrating Mi’kmaq History Month, which begins on October 1. Mi’kmaq History Month is an important reminder that it is everyone’s responsibility to educate ourselves about Mi’kmaw culture and heritage. Please be watching for more information to come via email and published to stfx.ca.

As part of our recognition of Mi’kmaq History Month, the campus grounds will be lit up orange, and a crosswalk near the Kiknu will be painted orange with feathers. We will also have signage across campus that reminds us that We Are All Treaty People and that Every Child Matters.

As a community that aspires to be inclusive, fair, and equitable, this is a time for us to listen and learn. It is a time for us to focus and think about the work that we can do on an individual and collective basis, to take reconciliation efforts forward. 

Andy

Andy Hakin

President and Vice-Chancellor

St. Francis Xavier University

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