nīkānītān manācihitowinihk | ni manachīhitoonaan
“Let us lead with respect”
The National Day for Truth and Reconciliation is an annual federal statutory holiday.
The University of Saskatchewan’s (USask) decision to observe this holiday aligns with the university’s efforts toward reconciliation and decolonization. The university remains closed on Sept. 30, which coincides with Orange Shirt Day, so students, staff, and faculty can reflect on and participate in this day.
For more information on events and programming taking place on the USask campus and in the community to commemorate Sept. 30, please visit the link below.
The Truth and Reconciliation Commission - Calls to Action
The National Day for Truth and Reconciliation responds to Call to Action 80 from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada: Calls to Action, which reads:
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.
New USask initiatives
Blanket Project Launch
Wednesday, Sept. 27, 2023
Time: 3:30 pm
Location: Link Gallery, Murray Library
The Blanket Project is a resolution to a significant initiative that began with the discovery of 215 bodies found at Tk’emlúps Residential School. Its original purpose was to tie an orange ribbon for each spirit onto the buildings and objects on the USask campus. Sadly, as more unmarked graves were found across Turtle Island, the need for commemoration grew, resulting in over 9000 ribbons being placed.
Initially, the intention was to burn the ribbons in a sacred fire. However, due to the ribbons’ non-organic nature, it was deemed inappropriate and unsafe to do so. In light of this, the Mistatimōk committee, tasked with guiding the USask community towards meaningful and authentic commemorations related to decolonization and reconciliation, decided on an alternative approach – implementing the ribbons into blankets, incorporating patterns of healing and celebration representing various nations across Turtle Island, including those across the Medicine Line.
The first pattern to be woven will be the 8-pointed star used in achakakohp, the traditional Star Blankets of the nêhiyawak and many other peoples of the plains. The Star Blanket acts as a blueprint for nêhiyawak cosmology and ways of being that connect life on earth to the teachings of the stars and the spirit world. We know the Star Blanket is used to honour, protect, and celebrate an individual. “Receiving a star blanket brings good dreams, prosperity, and protection. The star does not only represent the Morning Star but it's also known as the Creator's Eye, therefore when the Creator is with you, covering you, you are forever safe.”
The blankets will symbolize collective strength, resilience, and a commitment to reconciliation as the community moves forward in acknowledging the painful history and working towards a more inclusive future with Indigenous people. The blanket project is a reminder of the atrocities committed in the past and present day and is a step towards healing and honouring the lives of those affected by the Residential school system.
Everyone in our campus community is invited to attend and learn more about the project and how your unit can participate in this initiative.
Huskie Athletics logo: exploring the imagery
During the University of Saskatchewan Week of Reflection September 25-30, Huskie Athletics is proud to share a new logo. Championed by a group of Indigenous student-athletes, they collaborated with First Nations artist Chris Chipak to design a reimagined logo with symbolism that reflects their resiliency and identity as a part of Huskie Athletics.
In a commitment to continue education and advocacy for Truth and Reconciliation, this logo will be worn by all Huskie Athletics student-athletes, coaches, and support staff over the weekend of September 30th.
USask retirees announce new “Let’s Fly Up Together” Indigenous Reconciliation Award
The University of Saskatchewan Retirees Association (USRA) has created a new award—the Ohpahotân/oohpaahotaan – “Let’s Fly Up Together” Award—to celebrate the efforts of retirees who have advanced the university’s Indigenous Strategy gifted to the university as a companion to University Plan 2025.
The award will honour a USask individual retiree or a pair or group of individuals that includes one or more USask retirees whose efforts significantly advance one or more commitments of the Ohpahotân/oohpaahotaan—"Let’s Fly Up Together” Indigenous Strategy. The call for nominations will take place in early 2024.
Resources and initiatives
USask learning resourcesOrange Shirt Day
To learn more about Orange Shirt Day and the Canadian residential school system, please visit the links below or feel free to begin your own research on this tragic period of Canadian history:
- Learn about Indigenization, decolonization, and the history of Indigenous Peoples and cultures through the Office of the Vice-Provost Indigenous Engagement (OVPIE) website and the University Library's I-Portal: Indigenous Studies Portal.
- A research guide created by Métis librarian Sheila Laroque offers a wide variety of resources and invites us to continue our collective learning journey.
Wellness and support
For emotional crisis referral services and information on other health supports from the Government of Canada, residential school survivors can call 1-866-925-4419. The Hope for Wellness Help Line is also available to Indigenous peoples across Canada 24 hours a day, 7 days a week for counselling and crisis intervention. Toll-free at 1-855-242-3310 or available via online chat at hopeforwellness.ca.
The Office of the Treaty Commissioner is working to support a provincial movement for truth and Reconciliation in the Treaty territory of Saskatchewan.
Saskatoon Tribal Council
The Saskatoon Tribal Council is dedicated to creating a respectful environment that inspires and encourages innovation and leadership while building and strengthening partnerships with communities, individuals and organizations.