September 5, 2023 – Orillia, Ont.
An important symbol of remembrance, honour and action was raised at Lakehead University’s Orillia Campus on Tuesday.
After beginning the gathering in a good way, Dr. Linda Rodenburg, Interim Principal of Lakehead Orillia, alongside Dr. Cynthia Wesley Esquimaux, Chair on Truth and Reconciliation, and Brandon Rhéal Amyot, Vice President Lakehead University Student Union, raised the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation (NCTR) Survivors’ Flag outside the campus’s Simcoe Hall.
For Dr. Rodenburg, who purposefully walks the Orillia Campus’s pathway to reconciliation each day, symbols like the Survivors’ Flag are a daily reminder of the commitment she makes to the reconciliation process and the Indigenous community.
“On this day, it’s particularly important that we recognize as a whole community that reconciliation is important work to do, particularly as allies with our Indigenous communities. As Survivors, their children and grandchildren are walking pathways to healing, we are walking alongside them on our path to truth and knowledge.”
“It’s a time for new beginnings and deep reflection for everyone,” said Dr. Wesley-Esquimaux, stating that individuals across the country need to be engaged in this conversation, not just Indigenous Peoples.
“The youth who join us today do so in a good way with choices, futures, the support of their peers, faculty and families. You’ve been given opportunities that a lot of our Indigenous children never got to have because they had to work hard just to survive. That’s why we’re commemorating this day and that’s why we’re talking about it.”
Raising the Survivors’ Flag is part of a shared commitment and obligation to enact and participate in reconciliation as a journey.
“Lakehead University recognizes the importance of education in the act of reconciliation; we’ve collaborated across multiple Nations and communities to engage in reconciliation,” said Denise Baxter, Vice-Provost, Indigenous Initiatives. “Though we work on this all year, September is a time to recognize efforts throughout the year and to recommit to collaborating with communities and nations on pathways forward.”
Learning and commemorating the truth of Canada’s history is an important part of the path to reconciliation. Lakehead will be holding learning opportunities on truth and reconciliation leading up to the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation on September 30. Members of the public are welcome to attend.
Elder Tipi Talk and TRC Calls to Action
Wednesday, Sept. 27
10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
Tipi (behind Simcoe Hall)
“Are universities meeting the challenge of reconciliation”: A Conversation with Cynthia Wesley-Esquimaux
Thursday, Sept. 28
12 to 1 p.m.
Register at: https://lakeheadu.zoom.us/meeting/register/tJMtd--trjIsHdKr1bEuEQnQfsWJr-2CKc68#/registration
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 in the top half of Times Higher Education's 2023 World Universities Rankings for the fourth consecutive year, and the number one university in the world with fewer than 9,000 students in THE’s 2023 Impact Rankings (which assesses institutions against the United Nations’ 17 Sustainable Development Goals). Visit www.lakeheadu.ca.