Campus community marks National Day of Truth and Reconciliation


An orange shirt is displayed at the west entrance of campus.

Campus flags were lowered to half-mast on the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation (Sept. 30) and for Sisters in Spirit Day (Oct. 4) to acknowledge and honour the lives lost through residential schools and the missing and murdered Indigenous women, girls and two-spirit people.


Members of the campus community gathered in person and virtually until Oct. 4 to mark National Day of Truth and Reconciliation and Orange Shirt Day on Sept. 30, the signing of Treaty 7 on Sept. 22 and Sisters in Spirit Day, Oct. 4. The two-week series was called Journey to Indigenization.

Events included guest speakers, presentations, intergenerational healing series and other opportunities to learn about Indigenous Peoples and histories. Most of the events were held online with links available to access the live streams.

“I encourage everyone to take the time to attend as many of these activities as possible,” said Mount Royal President and Vice-Chancellor Tim Rahilly, PhD in a message to the campus community.

In honour of Orange Shirt Day, the Cougars Campus Store has been selling ‘Every Child Matters’ orange t-shirts. Books by Indigenous authors are also for sale in the Cougars Campus Store, and materials by Indigenous writers and about indigenization and decolonization are displayed on the first floor of the Riddell Library and Learning Centre and can be borrowed. A number of other events had to be postponed due to COVID-19 and related restrictions. Find out more.


Materials by Indigenous writers and about indigenization and decolonization are displayed on the first floor of the Riddell Library and Learning Centre.

Materials by Indigenous writers and about indigenization and decolonization are on display on the first floor of the Riddell Library and Learning Centre and available to borrow.


dr. linda manyguns, phd, associate vice-president of indigenization and decolonization, says the two weeks of activities are tied directly to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Calls to Action (TRC/trc) and the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP/undrip).

manyguns, who uses lower case in her communications as resistance against acknowledging power structures that oppress, says, “we are inviting people on a journey to understand decolonization and indigenization through enabling recommendations from the trc as animated by undrip.

“we want to share the experience and knowledge not only through these days but with the events postponed. they, too, will be available to share and learn from one another when the right time comes. i believe in the goodness of humankind and know that with the right information people make the right choices. we are opening minds to the truth and the opportunity to see a world that is shaped by many other perspectives.”

Campus flags were lowered to half-mast on the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation (Sept. 30) and lowered again for Sisters in Spirit Day (Oct. 4) to acknowledge and honour the lives lost through residential schools and the missing and murdered Indigenous women, girls and two-spirit people.

On Sept. 30 at noon, campus community members watched a live stream opening ceremony with manyguns, Rahilly and Interim Provost and Vice-President, Academic, Dr. Elizabeth Evans, PhD.

manyguns says events like this are important for all canadians. “we are maturing as a society and waking up to the fact that the old colonial mentality that nurtured our beginning is not the model of governance we want for canada in the future. It is time to find those deeply intertwined strands of colonialism and replace them to produce a kinder, more inclusive canada.”

her message to campus: “we welcome you on this journey to decolonization and indigenization as we share facts and historical information the colonizer has obscured or removed from canada’s education and provide access to knowledge that provides a truth-based education.

“this is just the beginning,” she adds.

To commemorate Orange Shirt Day, MRU lit up the campus in orange at dusk.

Encouraging as many people as possible to attend an event or watch a live stream, Rahilly says, “I would like to thank the many people involved with planning and co-ordinating these events and I look forward to this being a time when we can listen and learn as a community.”

How to get involved (still):

  • Buy an Every Child Matters orange t-shirt while supplies last at the Cougars Campus Store. A portion of the proceeds will go to the Orange Shirt Society and MRU's Indigenous Student Emergency Fund.
  • Support Indigenous writers. Purchase an Indigenous-written book from the Cougars Campus Store.
  • Donate non-perishable food items for families’ and children's lunches. The Iniskim Centre is collecting food donations in T110. Donations will be shared with Indigenous Family Housing students and SAMRU. Discover more ways to donate.

Read more about Dr. ManyGuns’s use of lowercase.

Sept. 28, 2021 — Melissa Rolfe

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