Honouring National Day for Truth & Reconciliation
Sep 28, 2023
8:45AM to 12:00PM
Date(s) - 28/09/2023
8:45 am - 12:00 pm
On Thursday, September 28, 2023 we will honour National Day for Truth and Reconciliation. We affirm the importance of continuing to learn and reflect on Canada’s history and our relationships with Indigenous Peoples. We would like to invite all staff, faculty members, and learners to join us for an in-person learning and community-building experience. We also welcome all residents whose clinical or other commitments enable them to join us. We are committed to removing any barriers to attending. Please note that parking passes are available to visitors and colleagues coming from other sites.
What to bring
- Attendees are encouraged to wear orange shirts in support of the “Every Child Matters” campaign.
- A non-perishable food item that will be collectively donated to the Niwasa Kendaaswin Teg Food Bank in Hamilton. Donations such as hygiene items (toothpaste, toothbrush, soap, shampoo, feminine hygiene items, deodorant), pet food (cats and dogs), cleaning items, diapers and wipes, baking items (flour, sugar, oil, etc.) and canned and dry goods.
- Smart device and headphones for the Reflection & Reconciliation Walk (you are also welcome to listen to the resources without headphones or engage in the reading materials).
- Please note that pets and family/friends are welcome to join us for the walk at Bayfront Park.
In honour of this day, please consider a donation to Indigenous-led and Indigenous-serving organizations and invest in programs devoted to reclaiming land, language, culture and other things deemed important by and for Indigenous People. Some examples include:
- Indigenous Health Learning Lodge at McMaster
- Kawenniio/Gaweniyo Mohawk and Cayuga Language Immersion School
- Onkwawenna Kentyokwa Mohawk Language Adult Immersion Program
- Niwasa Kendaaswin Teg: (for information; to donate)
- De dwa da dehs nye>s Aboriginal Health Centre
- Woodlands Cultural Centre
If you have any questions or concerns, please reach out to our EDI & Anti-Racism Manager Nirosha Balakumar at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Bayfront Park, 200 Harbour Front Dr, Hamilton, ON L8L 1C8
8:45 to 9:05 a.m.: Travel to Bayfront Park*
9:15 to 9:30 a.m.: Welcome & Land Acknowledgement
9:30 to 10:00 a.m.: Reflection & Reconciliation Walk
*For those who wish to walk from DBHSC to Bayfront Park, please meet at the rear doors at 8:45 a.m. For those travelling from Stonechurch to Bayfront Park, the coach will also be leaving at 8:45 a.m. If you are driving, please consider carpooling if possible.
David Braley Health Sciences Centre, 2nd Floor Auditorium, 100 Main St W, Hamilton, ON L8P 1H6
10:00 to 10:30 a.m.: Travel time back to DBHSC and refreshments
10:30 to 12:00 p.m.: Connecting Head to Heart: Our Continuing Journey Toward Reconciliation, with Lorrie Gallant and the Indigenous Teaching Through the Art (ITTA) team
12:00 p.m.: Bus picks up Stonechurch colleagues
Resources for the Reflection & Reconciliation Walk
Words connect us. Words hurt us. Indigenous histories have been twisted by centuries of colonization. Host Kaniehti:io Horn brings us together to decolonize our minds– one word, one concept, one story at a time.
- DISCOVERY | 22:04
- 70 conversations. 15 Indigenous communities. 11 words with the power to hurt. In this first episode, host Kaniehti:io Horn decolonizes the word, ‘discovery’. Christopher Columbus, Jacques Cartier, even Leif Erikson all claimed to have found a ‘new’ land. But by the time they reached the shores of the Americas, millions of people had already been living here for at least 11,000 years. The Doctrine of Discovery –a papal bull from the 1400’s– justified the dispossession and displacement of the First Peoples from their Lands. Together, we’ll explore words that are now helping us to rewrite our history.
- SCHOOL | 23:27
- For over 150 years, Indian Residential Schools were one of the primary means by which the government assimilated us in order to “kill the Indian in the child.” These compulsory SCHOOLS shattered our families, our languages, and our cultures. This great pain was passed down from generation to generation and impacts our communities to this day. Together, we will decolonize the word SCHOOL and share our truths about learning. The Indian Residential School Survivors Society has created a helpline for residential school survivors and can be reached at 1-866-925-4419. If you are a survivor and you need to talk, please call.
- OBEY | 23:11
- The word OBEY does not exist in Indigenous languages. Our ancestors lived by their own systems of governance that sought to maintain harmony among all living things. The concept of obedience was forced upon us by church and government authorities. It slowly took hold and changed both our way of life and our way of governing ourselves. The time has come to consider regaining our sovereignty and reclaiming our original ways of decision making
- RECONCILIATION | 25:09
- It’s made its way into Canada’s political vocabulary and into Indigenous communities. Some see it as yet another empty promise; others see it as a path forward. It’s a word that is both divisive and complicated. Together, we will look at the fractured relationship between Indigenous and non-Indigenous populations to look for a way forward that is balanced and fair.
CBC Arts: Poetic License
Don’t Speak | Mahlikah Awe:ri | 5:13
When it comes to Black liberation and Indigenous sovereignty, Afro-Indigenous (Kanien’kéhà:ka, Mi’kmaw) artist Mahlikah Awe:ri Enml’ga’t Saqama’sgw is done debating. In this poem entitled DON’T SPEAK, Awe:ri’s colonial critique is direct and biting with lines like “you buried our stories like you buried our children” — yet she still manages to invite reconciliation and healing. Awe:ri started writing the poem in 2018 for the Louder than a Bomb Toronto Slam Finals, but its intentions shifted when her mentor Cree elder Vern Harper passed away before it was finished.
Warrior Cry | Sarah Lewis | 4:07
Meet spoken word artist Sarah Lewis. Hailing from Curve Lake First Nation, the Ojibwe/Cree poet was recently appointed as the first poet laureate of Nogojiwanong-Peterborough. Not one to take this appointment lightly, Lewis knows her presence and voice is a form of resistance, saying: “My existence is a form of activism because we weren’t supposed to be here.” Watch Sarah Lewis perform Warrior Cry in the video above — a piece Lewis describes as being written from the perspective of a dangerously empowered Indigenous woman. It’s an ode to the Indigenous warriors who fight daily for their communities, but also a reminder of the work that still needs to be done.
To be the successor of legacy is also to be the inheritor of generational trauma | Jennifer Alicia | 2:46
Jennifer Alicia has been writing since she was nine years old. As an only child, the pen and the paper became a trusted confidant, guarding some of the most sacred moments of her life. As an adult, the two-time national poetry slam champion now uses spoken word in a directly dutiful and challenging way, since as they know: “To be [the] successor of legacy is to also be [the] inheritor of intergenerational trauma.” Take a look as Jennifer Alicia channels their grandmother’s words in the video above. In this intimate poem, the mixed Mi’kmaw/Settler- German/Irish/Scottish artist asks themselves difficult questions that we should all ask ourselves as Canadians: Are we doing enough to engage with, acknowledge and preserve Indigenous culture and how do we resolve our own connections to colonization?
Decolonizing Love | Kahsenniyo Kick | 4:57
Hamilton-based poet Kahsenniyo’s name means “a good name” in Mohawk. She credits her mother’s sense of humour for her name — but as an artist, matriarch and 1492 Land Back Lane activist who uses her words for social change, her mother may have predestined the empowered woman her daughter would grow up to be. In this deeply personal poem, Kahsenniyo reckons with the ways in which colonialism has decimated Indigenous lands and family structures and offers her own strategies to break the cycle of intergenerational trauma. This video was filmed on location at the Woodland Cultural Centre, a site at which a small but mighty group has transformed the original intent of the Mohawk Institute Indian Residential School into a place of reconciliation and learning to promote Indigenous art and history.
CBC Listen: Indigenous
From roots and rock to hip hop and hand drums – Canadian Indigenous music is an invite to a cultural experience across all genres. Hear: Buffy Sainte-Marie, Don Amero, Iskwe, A Tribe Called Red, Wolf Saga and more!
The Indigenous community from all genres is well represented in this category of Juno winners. Hear Buffy Sainte-Marie, Tanya Tagaq, Digging Roots, Crystal Shawanda and more.
Reclaimed explores the many worlds of Indigenous Music. Traditional songs. Acoustic Sounds. Hip hop, R&B, electric powwow and everything in between. Hear A Tribe Called Red, Lido Pimienta, Tanya Tagaq, Wolf Saga and more!
From the heart of the Prairies, out across Turtle Island, discover songs to honour the round dance—a social and ceremonial time to get together and dance for life, love, and healing. Hear songs and roundys from Young Spirit, Blackstone, Big Bear, Randy Wood, Randall Paskemin, Harvey Dreaver, and much more. So, circle up, join hands, and follow the direction of the sun around the drummers and singers. Aho!
The Indigenous Teaching Through Art team has put together a list of additional resources.
Check out other events and resources from the McMaster community.
We understand that as much as this day can be one of learning, unlearning and understanding it can also be one of healing, pain, trauma and remembrance. For those seeking support, you can access the following resources:
For Indigenous faculty, staff and learners
- Indigenous Student Services
- Indigenous Wellness Counsellor: Andrew Nussey – email@example.com
- Indigenous Wellness Counsellor: Brittany Vincze – 905-525-914 ext. 27987
- Elder in Residence Program: firstname.lastname@example.org
- First Nations and Inuit Hope for Wellness Help Line: 1-855-242-3310
- Talk4Healing (Indigenous Women Only): 1-855-554-HEAL
- Indian Residential School Survivors and Family: 1-866-925-4419
- Indian Residential School Survivors Society: 1-800-721-0066
For all faculty, staff and learners
- Equity & Inclusion Office: email@example.com
- McMaster Employee and Family Assistance Program:
- COAST (Crisis Outreach and Support Team): 905-972-8338, Toll-free – 1-844-972-8338
- Student Wellness Centre: firstname.lastname@example.org
- MSU Student Assistance Program Counselling: Undergraduate – 1-877-390-7325, Graduate – 1-844-741-6389
- Nirosha Balakumar, DFM EDI and Anti-Racism Partner: email@example.com