September 28, 2021
This year the Simon Fraser Student Society (SFSS) recognizes the first National Day for Truth and Reconciliation originally referred to as Orange Shirt Day, September 30th. The SFSS will continue to support, and be in solidarity with Indigenous students and community members. We will continue to uphold the true intention of “reconciliation” by recognizing Indigenous Resilience and Empowerment. We will continue to listen, honour, and support those who have been impacted by the Indian Residential School System, not only for this week but also onward. Orange Shirt Day started from Phyllis’ Webstad’s (Secwepemc) story about her experience attending the Residential School and having her Orange Shirt which was a gift from her grandmother taken away the day she was brought there.
We acknowledge that Simon Fraser University (SFU) is a colonial institution situated on the stolen and Unceded lands of the xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam), Sḵwx̱wú7mesh Úxwumixw (Squamish), səl̓ilw̓ətaʔɬ (Tsleil-Waututh), kʷikʷəƛ̓əm (Kwikwetlem), and Katzie Nations. As a student society, we will continue to educate ourselves, our staff, and our membership to ensure that we utilize this time as a moment to reflect, learn, and take steps to centre and prioritize Indigenous communities and voices.
The legacy of colonialism and systemic oppressions within so-called canada are currently embedded not only within our education system but also within settler society through numerous institutions such as the canadian government on all levels, the justice system, child welfare, and our healthcare system. We all have a responsibility to do better for our Indigenous community members. In the last five months, we have been faced with the realization that so-called canada as well as settler canadians, and International community members have a responsibility to learn and educate themselves on the true history of this colonial state. As long as Indigenous communities and People(s) are facing systemic barriers in this country we have not done enough to commit to reconciliation, Indigenous sovereignty, or empowerment.
The SFSS is committed to ensuring that we always work towards breaking these barriers not only internally to the SFSS but amplifying the advocacy efforts from our Indigenous students and community members. We acknowledge that SFU as an institution has committed to ongoing reconciliation efforts and the SFSS will do our best to ensure that the calls to action are met through accountability as well as supporting calls to action brought up by Indigenous students and community. SFU has a responsibility to ensure that Indigenous students, faculty, and staff are supported and committed to going further than what is stated in their current calls to action under the document “walk this path with us”.
The SFSS has prioritized reconciliation efforts within our student society as well as ensuring we proactively address and take stances on Indigenous issues.
Please refer to our Issues Policy 7: Indigenous Inclusion and Reconciliation to see our full stance.
We wholeheartedly support reconciliation efforts brought forth from Indigenous students, faculty, staff, and community members. We want to thank our Indigenous, students and community members for their ongoing labour and work to decolonize this colonial institution.
SFSS Executive Committee
Download the statement as a pdf here.