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September 30 Is Now the National Day of Truth and Reconciliation

President's Office By Gillian Siddall

Posted on August 13, 2021

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In June, the federal government announced September 30 as a new annual statutory day. Designated the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, it is an occasion to honour the survivors of residential schools, to mourn for the children who never came home to their families, and to participate in the important work of reconciliation.

Along with other public institutions, Emily Carr University will recognize this occasion by closing on Thursday, September 30, 2021. There will be no classes or services on campus that day.

Since 2013, September 30 has been observed as Orange Shirt Day, a day to reflect on and learn about the impact of residential school systems in Canada. For more than 150 years, residential schools forcibly separated Indigenous children from their loved ones, their communities, and their cultures. Countless children survived abuse and neglect, and thousands of others tragically lost their lives.

Orange Shirt Day was named for a story shared by survivor Phyllis Jack Webstad, who recounted how her orange shirt was taken from her at residential school, a symbol of how the schools sought to strip away the identities of Indigenous children.

Emily Carr University is committed to reconciliation and decolonization, and commends the government for honouring survivors on September 30. This is a time for all of us who are settlers and guests on this land to consider how we can advance the important work of reconciliation.

More details will be shared in the weeks ahead as we clarify how this closure will impact programming and academic schedules.