"This special day provides an opportunity for people to learn about our history from our point of view. Everyone has to understand that we only have one world to live in, and we need to leave a good place for our future generations."
— Grand Chief Clarence Pennier, Manager of Aboriginal Title and Rights at the Stó:lō Tribal Council
Joining together with Canadians in remembering the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation on September 30, Trinity Western University is hosting a campus-wide Day of Learning at the Langley main campus, to foster greater knowledge and understanding of Indigenous history and cultures, and to commemorate the history and legacy of residential schools.
“This day is 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,” University Siyá:m Patricia Victor said.
Grand Chief Clarence Pennier
Grand Chief Clarence Pennier, better known as Kat, is currently the manager of Aboriginal Title and Rights at the Stó:lō Tribal Council, and a speaker at TWU's Day of Learning. He has devoted most of his adult life to advocating on behalf of Aboriginal issues.
Grand Chief Pennier remarks, "Our history in Canada has not been a good one because of a lack of recognition of who we are and the role we play in this territory. I am happy that a day has been set aside to recognize our people, since we have survived the colonization process as well as the residential school system."
"This special day provides an opportunity for people to learn about our history from our point of view. Everyone has to understand that we only have one world to live in and we need to leave a good place for our future generations."
When advancing Aboriginal and Treaty Rights, Grand Chief Pennier draws upon knowledge and experience from his extensive career as an elected leader and a senior manager. He served four years as the President of the Stó:lō Nation Society and the Stó:lō Tribal Council. In the late 1980’s, he served as Chairman of the Stó:lō Tribal Council. For 18 years, he held the position of Executive Director of Aboriginal Title and Rights for the Stó:lō Tribal Council and Stó:lō Nation. He served one year as Chief Negotiator for the Stó:lō Nation, and he also served as Senior Advisor to the Chief Negotiator for six years.
“This day is 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.”
— University Siyá:m Patricia Victor
Day of Learning agenda and highlights
Opening the Circle
September 30, 2021 is the first National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, and it is a response to the TRC Call to Action 80. At TWU, we will gather together at 9:00 am, to start the day with Stó:lō protocol and ceremony. The purpose of gathering is to learn and grow in our understanding of the history and legacy of Indian Residential Schools, and to honor the survivors, their families and communities.
University Siyá:m Patricia Victor will lead in remembering the children who did not return home from the residential schools, and Stó:lō pastor and Chief Andrew Victor will speak on “The Role of the Church in Truth and Reconciliation.” This will be followed by small group discussion and prayer.
- Movie: Indian Horse is the story of Saul Indian Horse, an Ojibway boy from northern Ontario who escapes his demons and rough childhood through hockey, Saul is taken to St. Jerome’s Indian Residential School. It is a film adaptation of the story written by Richard Wagamese, Ojibwe.
- Movie: We Were Children is the testimony of two survivors, Lyna Hart and Glen Anaquod. In 1958, Lyna was taken from her family to a school in central Manitoba, while Glen, who was orphaned, entered a school in Saskatchewan. Together, they are part of seven generations of children who were betrayed, broken and abandoned. Their voices were silenced for decades by force and by fear, and they now emerge, powerful and clear, preserved for generations to come .
- Blanket Exercise: This is an interactive educational program that teaches the history of Indigenous peoples in Canada. The program was created in response to the 1996 report of the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples, and is used as a teaching tool across Canada. There are two sessions – one led by Bridget Findlay of Indigenous Neighbours MCC BC, and one led by TWU staff member Amanda Seymour, who is Mohawk of Akwesasne. Limited to 25 people in each session. Bring a blanket and a family photo.
- Campus Tour: This tour will focus on the Indigenous plants, trees, and medicines growing on TWU's Langley campus. It will be led by Dr. David Clements, Professor of Biology, and Karen Gabriel, Kwantlen First Nations plant knowledge keeper.
- TRC Calls to Action: There are 94 calls to action, which provide opportunities for government, communities, churches, educational institutions and individuals to work together to repair the harm caused by the Indian Residential School system. This workshop looks at the TRC: Actions 48 and 49 Faith Communities; Actions 60-62 Church and Reconciliation, Articles 6-12 Education; and Articles 18-24 Health. Dr. Sheryl Reimer-Kirkham, Dean of the School of Nursing, and Dr. Matthew Etherington, Professor of Education, will lead this workshop.
- First Peoples Principle of Learning: It is understood that an inherent interconnectedness exists between all of the principles. They operate in concert with each other in a robust and healthy learning environment and education system. Creating teaching and learning environments that reflect the FPPL has as much to do with an educator’s philosophy about education, and disposition, as it has to do with curricular content. Led by Professor Nina Pak Lui, School of Education.
- Storytelling: Indigenous peoples have long passed on knowledge from generation to generation through oral traditions, including storytelling. Storytelling is a traditional method used to teach cultural beliefs, values, customs, rituals, history, practices, relationships, and ways of life. It is a foundation for holistic learning, relationship building, and experiential learning. Led by Annelyn Victor, Stó:lō First Nations.
- Indian Act: The Indian Act was enacted in 1876 and has since been amended. It allows the government to control most aspects of Aboriginal life: Indian status, land, resources, wills, education, band administration, and the day-to-day affairs of Indigenous peoples and communities. Today, it largely retains its original form and is a part of a long history of assimilation policies. Led by Grand Chief Clarence Pennier, Stó:lō First Nations.
- UNDRIP: On November 28, 2019, British Columbia became the first jurisdiction in Canada to incorporate the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (“UNDRIP”), making UNDRIP part of BC law. What are the implications, when it comes to moving forward together in a good way? Led by Dr. Bruce Shelvey, History Professor.
- Research – The joys and challenges of using Indigenous ways of knowing and being in research. Led by researchers: Dr. Kendra Rieger, Assistant Professor of Nursing; Kathleen Lounsbury, Indigenous consultant and Nursing instructor, Kwakwaka'wakw First Nation; and Dr. Erica Grimm, Professor of Art, SAMC.
Closing the Circle
Following the afternoon of learning activities, once again we will gather together at 3:15 pm, ending the day with Stó:lō protocol. The witnesses will share their reflections, and protocol gifts will be given to all participants to remember what we have learned together.
See also—Trinity Western University honours the traditional ancestral unceded territory of the Stó:lō people:
About Trinity Western University
Founded in 1962, Trinity Western University is Canada’s premier Christian liberal arts university dedicated to equipping students to establish meaningful connections between career, life, and the needs of the world. It is a fully accredited research institution offering liberal arts and sciences, as well as professional schools in business, nursing, education, human kinetics, graduate studies, and arts, media, and culture. It has four campuses and locations: Langley, Richmond-Lansdowne, Richmond-Minoru, and Ottawa. TWU emphasizes academic excellence, research, and student engagement in a vital faith community committed to forming leaders to have a transformational impact on culture. Learn more at www.twu.ca or follow us on Twitter @TrinityWestern, on Facebook and LinkedIn.
For media inquiries, please contact: email@example.com.