Participating in today’s ribbon cutting ceremony were (from left) Chris Glover, Associate Vice-President – Administration; Elder Trish Monague; Mercedes Jacko, Indigenous Initiatives Coordinator; Elder and Indian Day School Survivor Ernie Sandy; Dr. Linda Rodenburg, Interim Principal of the Orillia campus; Dr. Cynthia Wesley-Esquimaux, Chair on Truth and Reconciliation; Patricia Graham from the Metis Nation of Ontario; and Brandon Rhéal Amyot, Vice President Orillia of the Lakehead University Student Union (LUSU).
September 7, 2022 – Orillia, Ont.
Lakehead University unveiled its new Every Child Matters crosswalk and raised the Survivors’ Flag on Wednesday, Sept. 7, during an event to memorialize the children lost to the residential school system and honour survivors and their families.
The flag, designed by residential school survivors and the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation (NCTR), was raised and the crosswalk unveiled in front of Simcoe Hall at the Orillia campus. The crosswalk is permanent and the flag will be proudly on display until the end of September.
“As Chair of Truth and Reconciliation at Lakehead University I am honoured to represent the children lost, and the Survivors still with us, every day in what I do and say,” stated Dr. Cynthia Wesley-Esquimaux during the celebration. “My work represents a grateful tribute to their courage.”
“Raising this flag at both Lakehead University campuses is an important symbol of the work we are doing to honour remembrance and enact reconciliation to better serve Indigenous students and communities,” said Denise Baxter, Vice-Provost, Indigenous Initiatives, at Lakehead University.
“The Every Child Matters crosswalks remind us that every child matters and as a postsecondary institution we must be vigilant in our education, research, outreach, and community service.”
For Lakehead President and Vice-Chancellor Dr. Moira McPherson, the installation of the flag and crosswalk on the University’s campuses serves as a symbol that action and education go hand in hand.
“The crosswalks we've added to our campuses in Orillia and Thunder Bay are considered pathways, and they remind everyone, every day, that we must be vigilant to ensure that no child experiences the hurt of being taken away from their families," said Dr. McPherson.
“In addition to these pathways, today we raised the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation’s Survivors’ Flag as another expression of remembrance – to honour residential school survivors and all the lives and communities impacted by Canada's residential school system,” she added.
Learning and commemorating the truth of Canada’s history is an important part of the path to reconciliation. Lakehead has long been a leader when it comes to educating students about Indigenous issues and Canada’s past, launching the first Indigenous Content Requirement in 2016, and creating the first Indigenous Chair on Truth and Reconciliation in Canada in 2016.
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Lakehead University is a fully comprehensive university with approximately 9,700 full-time equivalent students and over 2,000 faculty and staff at two campuses in Orillia and Thunder Bay, Ontario. Lakehead has nine faculties, including Business Administration, Education, Engineering, Graduate Studies, Health & Behavioural Sciences, Law, Natural Resources Management, Science & Environmental Studies, and Social Sciences & Humanities. Lakehead University's achievements have been recognized nationally and internationally, including being ranked, once again, among Canada's Top 10 primarily undergraduate universities in Maclean's 2021 University Rankings; as well as included in the top half of Times Higher Education's 2022 World Universities Rankings for the third consecutive year, and the number one university in the world with fewer than 10,000 students in THE's 2022 Impact Rankings (which assesses institutions against the United Nations' 17 Sustainable Development Goals). Visit www.lakeheadu.ca.