Decolonize Yourself; Truth and Reconciliation on campus and online
By Alex Luong, Contributor
In honor of the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, Mount Royal University (MRU) is hosting a series of events called The Journey to Indigenization: Truth, Reconciliation and Decolonization from Sept. 22 to Oct. 4.
“The University focused on creating and coordinating many meaningful activities for the whole campus community to participate in. We believe this is an opportunity for us all to acknowledge, reflect and learn about the history and pain of residential schools and to consider how we can advance reconciliation in our lives and work,” Mount Royal Staff Association President, Michelle LoGullo said.
The event website recognizes Sept. 30 as the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation. It also recognizes Orange Shirt Day and honours Indigenous people who survived residential school and commemorates the children who never made it home.
LoGullo said this is a good opportunity for the staff, students and faculty to start or continue their decolonization journey.
Many faculty presentations and guest speakers will be featured throughout the week such as Dean of Faculty of Arts Jennifer Pettit and Elder Ruth Scalp Lock of the Siksika Nation. Pettit will be discussing the history of the residential school system with the recent discovery of the remains of hundreds of Indigenous children from the Canadian residential schools. Scalp Lock will be talking about her experience as a Crowfoot Indian Residential School survivor.
Books written by Indigenous authors and Every Child Matters orange t-shirts will be available for purchase at the Cougars Campus Store. Other materials about indigenization and decolonization will also be displayed and available to borrow on the first floor of the Riddell Library and Learning Centre.
A food donation box will also be organized at The Iniskim Centre and the donations will be shared with Indigenous Family Housing students and the Students’ Association of Mount Royal University.
During this time, students from the Bachelor of Child Studies will be handing out Orange Shirt Day buttons and pamphlets. The Iniskim Centre will also be serving orange cupcakes and MRU will brighten the campus with their orange items. Those that are wearing orange shirts are encouraged to join the Every Child Matters March on Sept. 30.
Sisters in Spirit Day, where everyone is encouraged to wear red clothes, will also be celebrated on the last day of the event, Oct. 4. There will be a traditional thinkers women’s prayer circle held in T123, a film screening of Stardale women’s group at the Bella Concert Hall, and the Sisters in Spirit Vigil and March held downtown.
“Sisters in Spirit Day is a national movement by Indigenous women to raise awareness of the violence against Indigenous women, girls and two-spirit and take a stand against the violence that leads to Indigenous women, girls and two-spirits going missing or being murdered,” a statement from the Journey into Indigenization website said.
Other Indigenization Efforts
In a statement she published on the MRU website, Associate Vice-President of Indigenization and Decolonization, dr. linda manyguns began an effort in August 2021 to not use capital letters on the university’s website of the office of indigenization and decolonization with the exception of acknowledging the Indigenous struggle for recognition. Out of respect for her initiative, The Reflector will refer to dr. manyguns with lowercase letters.
manyguns stated that “the explicit demonstration and practice of aboriginal culture in everyday life or at places of resistance is called by academics ‘eventing’.”
“Finally, all [MRU] leaders have committed to encouraging their personnel to participate in these activities.” LuGullo concluded. All COVID health protocols will be in full effect for on-campus activities.