12 Ways to Engage in Truth and Reconciliation at Western

12 Things You Can Do Right Now to Promote “Truth and Reconciliation”

Since the release of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Report in 2015, many people have been working to address the Calls to Action, and build capacity at Western for learning these truths and engaging in reconciliation. The news on Friday, May 28 of the discovery of the remains of 215 children at the site of a former Indian Residential School in Kamloops, BC, has prompted many people to recognize that we are still very much in the truth stage - and there is so much more work to be done. 

We compiled a small list of resources and actions you can do right now to engage in, and promote, Truth and Reconciliation work at Western, below. Once you have reviewed any of these items, consider sharing and discussing with colleagues, friends, family and on social media. We have also created a resource that gives backgroud on the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, and Engaging NDTR in the Classroom access the 2021 version here (2023 forthcoming). As well, we have created a resource on "Beyond NDTR:ReconciliACTION," here

  1. Review the Truth and Reconciliation reports, archives, Calls to Action and educational resources. 
    How can you action or promote any of the Calls to Action in your respective fields and units? 

  2. Listen to former Senator and Chair of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, Murray Sinclair’s statement on the discovery at the former Residential School site in Kamloops
    How can you combat Residential School Denialism in your everyday relationships? 

  3. Read the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP)
    How can you embed these principles in your relations with Indigenous Peoples?

  4. Listen to the Mbwaach’idiwag podcast episode entitled “Colonial Problems Rebranded as Indigenous Issues.”
    What are some ways you can take action towards decolonial and anti-colonial practices?


mbwaach'idiwag · "Colonial Problems rebranded as 'Indigenous Issues'"

  1. Read Western’s Guide for Working with Indigenous Students, and consider the list of things you can do right now, on p. 14.

    What You Need to Know: What You Can Do:
    Part of the Truth and Reconciliation process is naming colonialism (and its violent and abusive nature) and listening to Indigenous peoples’ truth-telling. Commit to lifelong learning about, with, and by Indigenous peoples and processes of colonialism in education
    Postsecondary institutions are deeply implicated in historical processes of colonization. For example, many early universities had religious affiliations, and were directly and indirectly involved in fuelling the residential school era.

    Read literature and scholarship authored by Indigenous peoples

    Reflect on your own social location in relation to colonialization.

    Reflect on power relationships in your professional practice

  2. Join Biindigen, Western’s Indigenous Learning Circle 
    Here, Western staff and faculty learn with and from Indigenous Peoples on issues pertaining to Indigenization, decolonization, and reconciliation through discussion and various mediums including books, documentaries, and podcasts.

    For Indigenous History Month, Biindigen created an Indigenous History Month Challenge full of more resources and ways to engage everyday in the month of June.

  3. Review The Yellowhead Institute’s Calls to Action on Accountability: A 2021 Status Update on Reconciliation and their 5x5 Review: How do we Solve Structural Racism
    What are some ways you can dismantle these barriers within your own power and ability? 

  4. Browse the Think Indigenous podcast and enjoy an episode.
    How can you take what you have learned and apply it? 

  5. Read 21 Things You May Not Have Know About the Indian Act by Bob Joseph.
    What are some ways the Indian Act continues to impact Indigenous Peoples' lives?
    How can we remove those barriers and support Indigenous Peoples dealing with these barriers? 

  6. Watch this Ted Talk by Starleigh Grass: “Reconciliation and Education: Lessons to remember before thinking about, talking about, and teaching about Residential schools and reconciliation.”
    In her talk, Starleigh refers to the First Nations Education Steering Committee’s First People’s Principles of Learning
    How can we implement these principles in our work?

  7. Browse this overview and sign up for access to “The Path” modules – which are a set of accredited online introductory modules that explore First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples of Canada, the history of Indigenous peoples and relationships with settlers, the British Crown, and Canada.

    Further your learning and understanding. 

  8. Read Universities Canada’s 2020 report, Empowering Indigenous students and advancing reconciliation

    How is our university doing when it comes to Reconciliation?