Today marks the first National Day for Truth and Reconciliation. This day fulfils the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Call-to-Action #80 and will serve as a day of remembrance, reflection, action, and learning.
Truth and Reconciliation Call-to-Action #80: We call upon the federal government, in collaboration with Aboriginal peoples, to establish, as a statutory holiday, a National Day for Truth and Reconciliation to honour Survivors, their families, and communities, and ensure that public commemoration of the history and legacy of residential schools remains a vital component of the reconciliation process.
OACUHO and the OACUHO Board of Directors implores you and your teams to take time today and create space to come together and reflect on the dark history of colonialism in this country. This history includes the deeply impactful Canadian Indian Residential Schools which was a network of boarding schools funded by the Canadian government and administered by Christian churches. These schools were designed to isolate Indigenous children from their families, culture, language, religion, and to assimilate them to the dominant “Canadian” culture.
As Student Housing professionals, we need to acknowledge the impact of our work on our students and communities. Western Higher Education itself is a colonial concept so we must be diligent in our plight to shift how we operate to dismantle the intentional barriers developed by our institutions. If you are a settler, it is your duty and responsibility to learn and educate yourself regarding these issues, we recommend you start with National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation series of resources. In addition to this, we encourage you to listen to the CBC’s Rosanna Deerchild interview of former Senator Murray Sinclair as they discuss how far Canada has come on reconciliation, and how much more we have to do.
As many of us in this industry are settlers, we must recognize the contributions and historic importance of Indigenous peoples. This recognition must also be clearly and overtly connected to our collective commitment to make the promise and the challenge of Truth and Reconciliation real in our communities, and in particular to bring justice for murdered and missing indigenous women and girls across our country.
Last year, OACUHO began the long overdue Strategic Imperative for Anti-Racism and Indigenous Sovereignty (SIARIS) where the mandate is to move our association to think and do differently and strengthen our transformation into a truly inclusive, anti-racist association and industry. This work is the responsibility of all of our members as we develop and grow our association to the professional home of all Student Housing professionals in Ontario, and beyond.
The OACUHO Board of Directors