A message from Vice-Provost Dr. Hart
Recognizing the impact of residential schools is such a crucial step in reconciliation because it allows us to come together in truth and knowledge. Over the years, Indigenous peoples have been forced to assimilate through violent and oppressive acts of colonization and conform to colonial ideas of truth that do not include or respect Indigenous worldviews and experiences. Residential schools were a key part of forced assimilation tactics, which led to marginalization, and racism based on ignorance and societal misconceptions not only in society, but also in our own paths of knowledge. It saddens me to think about all the lost dreams, ideas, and aspirations of the children who were buried at former residential school sites. Indeed, there is no way to get back all the loved ones we have lost, and the ache that stems from the impact of grief, loss, and hardship is important.
Part of achieving reconciliation through education is making room for Indigenous ways of knowing. We honour the experiences of Indigenous people every time we seek out Indigenous knowledge and tradition in good faith. Our stories and ways of knowing, which have been overlooked, oppressed, and marginalized for over one hundred and fifty years by Western culture are gifts to the world. The distinct world views of Indigenous peoples offer new insights into ways of understanding and relating to the world around us through and interconnected lens of holism and compassion for all things living. While our experiences with colonization have had a devastating impact on Indigenous peoples, cultures, and communities, I believe we can overcome the barriers of our painful past. As Indigenous peoples share their knowledge and stories, we must champion their voices as a form of truthing and begin our collective journey forward – together – in a good way.