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National Day for Truth and Reconciliation art

QHS marks National Day for Truth and Reconciliation: Student-led art exhibit at School of Medicine

The second annual  National Day for Truth and Reconciliation (NDTR) on Friday, September 30 honours the children who never returned home from residential school and survivors, as well as their families and communities. It's a time to reflect on our individual role in reconciliation. Classes are cancelled that afternoon and many students, staff and faculty are involved in events leading up to and on this day.   

An art installation (pictured above) led by students from the Indigenous Health Standing Committee can be viewed in the main lobby of the School of Medicine building (15 Arch St.) until October 7th. Based on a similar art project at the Museum of Anthropology at UBC, it features hundreds of orange paper t-shirts with messages of remembrance and reflection that have been collected from Queen’s community members over the past several weeks.  

“To contribute to it, you need to sit and think about what this day is and what it means to you, and to witness it, you also need to take time to think about what reconciliation means to you, and I really like the mosaic of that and how it forces you to take pause,” says Reilly Jones, a third-year medical student who is a member of the committee leading the art project. She says she also hopes this display provides a broadened perspective on reconciliation beyond the Truth and Reconciliation Committee’s calls to action that are specific to academia or culturally competent health care. “It’s in everyone’s best interest to ensure reconciliation is not just an academic pursuit or marking items off a ‘to-do’ list,” she adds.  

QHS also will also publish a feature story this week about a new initiative breaking down the barriers to education for Indigenous youth. The summer program for high school students from the western James Bay coast is part of an ongoing collaboration between QHS and the Weeneebayko Area Health Authority (WAHA), a healthcare network in Northern Ontario.

Elder Wendy Phillips will be giving a talk, 'Reconciliation and Healing the Spirit', open to the QHS community on September 30th, from 10-11 a.m. in 132A in the School of Medicine building . The event is organized by the Indigenous Health Standing Committee at Queen's School of Medicine.  

Here is a broader look at how Queen’s is marking NDTR and how you can participate: 

  • There will be a campus-wide Sacred Fire happening that day from 1 – 3 p.m. at Agnes Benidickson Field open to all Queen’s community members (either in-person or online). It will feature ceremonial elements and remarks from local Indigenous and university leaders with the intent to reflect on the legacy of Indigenous residential schools in Canada and seek to re-affirm the university’s commitment to advancing reconciliation 

  • Wearing an orange shirt on NDTR is encouraged. Learn about the origins of this day , also known as “Orange shirt day”. Queen’s is orange shirts to students at various locations and times across campus leading up to September 30.  

  • Orange shirts will be hung on the lamp poles lining University Avenue, just as the red dresses were displayed for the National Day of Awareness for Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women, Girls, and Gender Diverse People in May. 

  • To learn about all of the upcoming NDTR activities, events, and resources visit the Office of Indigenous Initiatives website. 

Learning about or reflecting on residential schools and their impacts may trigger difficult emotions. Support services are available at Four Directions for Indigenous students, and the Office of Indigenous Initiatives (Elders) for Indigenous staff and faculty. Support services are also available at Student Wellness Services and through other counselling resources for students. The Employee and Family Assistance Program can offer services for staff and faculty. 

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