UBC Okanagan committed to five Truth and Reconciliation recommendations made by the Aboriginal Advisory Committee.

Image from news.ok.ubc.ca
Image from news.ok.ubc.ca

Tuesday, September 24 was an important day at UBC Okanagan as the university hosted a ceremony declaring its commitments in response to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada’s Calls to Action.

UBC Okanagan committed to five Truth and Reconciliation recommendations made by the Aboriginal Advisory Committee. The Aboriginal Advisory Committee “considers the current state of Aboriginal activities on UBC’s Okanagan campus, identifies priority areas of focus for the future, and helps implement strategies to advance these initiatives.”

At the ceremony, UBCO committed to the following: developing and delivering an Indigenous culture program for faculty and staff, creating a Senior Advisor role on Indigenous Affairs for the Okanagan Campus, developing and implementing activities that support the revitalization of language fluency, advancing Indigenous teaching and research, and expanding health and wellness services to better support Aboriginal students.

Following the TRC Ceremony was Orange Shirt day on Monday, September 30, which is a day that honours those who attended residential schools in Canada. The weight of this day was affirmed after the ceremony on September 24, which was attended by survivors from residential schools.

The programming for Orange Shirt Day, organized by UBCO Aboriginal Programs and Services, helped to raise awareness about the residential school system in Canada and honour the experiences of Indigenous peoples. UBCO Aboriginal Programs and Services provides community and culturally appropriate services to Indigenous students. In addition to Orange Shirt Day, they also took part in this year’s Welcome Back Feast and Okanagan Nation Salmon Feast.

Last year, UBC Okanagan raised the Syilx Okanagan Nation flag on its campus in a new and permanent location to honour the traditional territory in which the university resides. This year, UBCO’s declaration of commitments proved to be another stride towards reconciliation and the emergence of Indigenous culture, language, and presence on campus.