BU marks Truth and Reconciliation Week with events for campus and community

Every Child Matters is written on an orange background with a tipi and a building in the background. An orange shirt is in one corner of the image and a Brandon University logo in another corner.

A week of events, including movies, music, art and discussions, are being planned to mark Truth and Reconciliation Week at Brandon University (BU).

The week is a time to reflect on the harm done by Canada’s residential school system, as well as to learn about Indigenous perspectives, culture and history.

Truth and Reconciliation Week at BU takes place from September 25 — 30, 2023, leading up to and including the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation on Saturday, Sept. 30. The BU initiatives complement wider community events being organized by the Brandon Urban Aboriginal Peoples’ Council (BUAPC), including the Orange Shirt Day walk, from the Riverbank Discovery Centre to the Brandon Indian Residential School, on Saturday at 2 p.m.

A full list of BU events can be found at BrandonU.ca/indigenous/gatherings/truth-reconciliation, while BUAPC community event details are available on their Facebook, Instagram or X accounts.

Among the events being planned at BU:

  • The Survivors’ Flag will fly in front of Brandon University. More information on the Survivors’ Flag and the symbolism represented on the flag can be found at NCTR.ca/exhibits/survivors-flag.
  • Students, faculty and staff are encouraged to wear orange throughout Truth and Reconciliation Week. The wearing of orange is inspired by the story of Phyllis (Jack) Webstad, who had her shiny new orange shirt, given to her by her grandmother, taken away at just six years old on her first day at the St. Joseph Mission Residential School. Several organizations sell orange shirts, with proceeds going to Indigenous organizations. The BU Bookstore is selling orange shirts this year, with proceeds going to the Orange Shirt Society as well as the Education Program of the First Nation of Wiikwemkoong Unceded Territory. The shirts were designed by artist and former Wiikwemkoong chief Peggy Pitawanakwat.
  • Bobcats Athletics is debuting a new video, voiced by student-athlete Faith Clearsky and featuring reflections from Knowledge Keepers Barb Blind and Susie McPherson-Derendy on our collective reconciliation efforts. The video will be available on social media and the Bobcats’ YouTube page on Monday.  A shorter version of the video will be played before each indoor game this season. The Bobcats will also wear orange shirts during warmups for their weekend games, and the women’s basketball team will take part in Saturday’s Orange Shirt Day walk.
  • BU Teachings House will host Conversations Around the Fire on Tuesday, Sept. 26 from 1:30 to 3 p.m, at the Ceremonial Fire Pit in the Kavanagh Courtyard. Join local Knowledge Keeper Susie McPherson-Derendy as we reflect on the legacy of residential schools and mark the change of season. More information can be found at BrandonU.ca/Indigenous/Gatherings/Teaching-House-BU.
  • The Indigenous Peoples’ Centre is presenting free screenings of the movie Bones of Crows on Tuesday and Thursday, beginning at 6 p.m. Bones and Crows is a story told through the eyes of Cree Matriarch Aline Spears as she survives Canada’s residential school system to continue her family’s generational fight in the face of systemic starvation, racism and sexual abuse. Free concessions will be provided, and seating is on a first-come-first-served basis.
  • Members of the School of Music and the Faculty of Arts are collaborating on What’s Love Got to Do with It, an evening performance on truth, reconciliation, the power of words and all that we have in common. Featuring the songs and stop-motion videos of Christine Fellows, as well as a performance art karaoke collaboration by artists Peter Morin and Jimmie Kilpatrick, the event will take place on Saturday, Sept. 30 at 7 p.m., in the Kinsmen Rehearsal Hall (Room 1-20 of the School of Music Building). More information on the performance can be found at Events.BrandonU.ca. The IshKaabatens Waasa Gaa Inaabateg Department of Visual Art will also present an Artist Talk by Morin and Kilpatrick at the Glen P. Sutherland Gallery of Art on Thursday, Sept. 28 at 7 p.m.
  • The John E. Robbins Library is assembling in-person and virtual displays with resources and information about Truth and Reconciliation Week and Orange Shirt Day. The virtual display is available at Libguides.BrandonU.ca/OrangeShirtDay.
  • Faculty and staff are encouraged to incorporate the braid symbol from the BU Strategic Plan in their email signatures. The use of the braid in the strategic plan was inspired by Indigenous peoples and represents being stronger and more resilient together. The braid can be downloaded from the BU website at BrandonU.ca/indigenous/gatherings/truth-reconciliation.
  • Brandon University will be closed on Friday, Sept. 29 in observance of the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, which coincides with Orange Shirt Day, on Saturday, Sept. 30. More information on the history of the day can be found on the Canadian Heritage website, and at OrangeShirtDay.org. While BU will be closed, community Truth and Reconciliation events include Traditional Foods and Medicine, with Eugene Ross, at the tipis at the Riverbank Discovery Centre.
  • Following Truth and Reconciliation Week, a new six-week exploration of the Pulling Together: Manitoba Foundations Guide will begin. BU faculty and staff are invited to read through the guide and complete the releated activities at their own pace, then come together as a group for reflection and discussion in the form of learning circles. The first session will take place on Thursday, Oct. 5 at 2 p.m., in the Gathering Space of the John E. Robbins Library. More information is available at Events.BrandonU.ca.


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