In March, Patricia Victor offered prayer songs in Halq’eméylem, the language of the Stó:lō people at Trinity Western University in Langley. On Monday, March 8, 2021, International Women’s Day, TWU opened an outdoor story walk created by Victor. (file)

In March, Patricia Victor offered prayer songs in Halq’eméylem, the language of the Stó:lō people at Trinity Western University in Langley. On Monday, March 8, 2021, International Women’s Day, TWU opened an outdoor story walk created by Victor. (file)

Trinity Western University in Langley will close classes for a day to focus on Indigenous issues

Day will be devoted to First Nations culture and the history of residential schools

On Thursday, Sept. 30, morning and afternoon classes at Trinity Western University (TWU) in Langley will be canceled, part of a campus-wide day of learning to foster greater knowledge and understanding of Indigenous history and culture, and to commemorate the history and legacy of residential schools.

Patricia Victor, TWU Siya:m (who provides spiritual and personal mentoring to students of aboriginal descent, while also acting as a liaison between TWU and local aboriginal communities) views it as “an opportunity for the TWU community to come together, to learn together, and to walk together in a good way — learning of our shared history, living in truth and reconciliation by understanding contemporary injustices, and committing to work towards a future that honours God through respect and dignity for all peoples.”

READ ALSO: ‘Hearing stories and history’ at Trinity Western University on National Indigenous Peoples Day

TWU President Mark Husbands declared that as “Canada’s premier Christian university we have a moral responsibility to be truthful, honest, caring, and just. A vital and positive relationship with the Indigenous Peoples of Canada includes both repentance for historical wrongs committed by our predecessors, and a commitment to walk well together in the future.”

This event is hosted in response to the Call to Action #80 from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) report, which said:

“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.”

READ ALSO: ‘Hearing stories and history’ at Trinity Western University on National Indigenous Peoples Day

On Sept. 30, the day will begin with Sto:lo protocol and ceremony, “Open the Circle for Truth Telling,” which will feature a panel of Indigenous speakers.

Educational activities in the afternoon will include a blanket exercise, which is an interactive historical learning opportunity, followed by focus groups to study TRC calls to action.

Additionally, there will be presentations of research projects, which followed research methods from Indigenous ways of knowing and being, as well as an opportunity for artistic reflection.

READ ALSO: Langley university vigils honour the 215 children buried at Kamloops residential school

In June 2021, the TWU Board of Governors approved a motion that formally acknowledges the land that Trinity Western University resides in the Township of Langley is on the unceded traditional territory of the Sto:lo, Kwantlen, and Katzie First Nations.


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