Exhibition at Brandon University explores legacy of Residential School System

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Brandon University (BU) is hosting a visiting national exhibition that explores the ongoing impacts of the Residential School System among Indigenous (First Nations, Inuit, and Métis) Peoples in Canada.

The exhibit, 100 Years of Loss: The Residential School System in Canada, will be placed in the Gathering Space on the first floor of the John E. Robbins Library at BU, where it will be open to the public throughout normal library hours from now until Oct. 20.

“We are honoured to bring this important and thought-provoking exhibition here to Brandon, and we encourage everyone to take some time to visit, to view, and to consider its message,” said BU Interim President Steve Robinson. “We must all face and grapple with the fact that systems of education have been very destructive to Indigenous cultures and communities, but education can also be a large part of the solution to the problems so created. This exhibit uses education to promote reconciliation and by hosting it Brandon University shows our commitment to that cause.”

100 Years of Loss was developed by the Legacy of Hope Foundation as part of its education program.

“The Legacy of Hope Foundation is proud to have worked with Survivors, Indigenous communities, researchers, curators, and educators to develop resources that increase public awareness and knowledge of the history and ongoing effects of the Residential School System,” said LHF Executive Director and Legal Counsel Teresa Edwards. “We are pleased that Brandon University will be hosting this important exhibition.”

An opening reception will formally launch the exhibition on Friday morning, Sept, 29. Local dignitaries and the public are invited to attend for smudging and prayer, beginning at 11:30 a.m., as well as brief discussions on the importance of this exhibit as well as reflections on the legacy of the Residential School System in Canada. Refreshments will be provided, including a bannock and stew luncheon.

“For years, my family members and many others who attended Indian residential school didn’t talk about their painful experiences in that system,” said Barb Blind, a BU Elder who will be conducting the prayer and smudging at the opening ceremony. “The first step in healing is to acknowledge what happened. So, for many, this is the first step.”

The opening of the exhibition is also timed to coincide with Orange Shirt Day, a nation-wide opportunity to remember and honour Residential School Survivors in a spirit of reconciliation, using the slogan Every Child Matters.

“Autumn is the time of year when Indigenous children were taken from their homes to Residential Schools, and it is also a time for us to consider the path of the coming academic year,” said Lisa Park, BU’s Diversity and Human Rights Advisor. “We expect that this will be a very popular exhibit for teachers, their classrooms, and other school groups.”

Complimentary parking has been arranged for visitors to the exhibit in Brandon University Lots 5 and 6, located at 20th Street and Princess Avenue.

Brandon University welcomes groups who are interested in attending to learn from the exhibition, and asks them to pre-register to prevent over-crowding. Bus drop-off and pick-up is also available. Registration is as easy as contacting Becky Lane at LaneB@BrandonU.ca or by phone at 204-727-9767.

More information about the exhibit, including resources for educators, is available online at 100yearsofloss.ca.

Educators can also take advantage of nearby, separate teaching space in the BU library to prepare their students for the exhibition, and to discuss its lessons afterward. The library has made Friday afternoons available for group visits, but groups should register with Becky Lane at LaneB@BrandonU.ca or by phone at 204-727-9767 to ensure space is available on the dates of their preference. Limited non-Friday dates are also available.

For all viewers of the exhibition, the BU library has set aside a separate, private space for reflection, grief, or healing after viewing. Additional semi-private space for these purposes is also available in the Indigenous Peoples’ Centre, directly adjacent to the library in the George T. Richardson Centre.

The Legacy of Hope Foundation is a national, charitable Aboriginal organization whose purpose is to educate and create awareness and understanding about the legacy of residential schools, including the effects and intergenerational impacts on First Nations, Inuit, and Métis Peoples, and to continue to support the ongoing healing process of Residential School Survivors. For LHF materials see legacyofhope.ca

Brandon University, founded in 1899, promotes excellence in teaching, research, and scholarship, and educates students so that they can make a meaningful difference as engaged citizens and leaders.


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